Dear Family and Friends of Central,

We all have days, now, when it’s hard to make sense of the world around us, and we work to create normalcy for ourselves and our families. Please continue to remember a few things — You are enough. You are loved. And for those with school aged children, don’t stress too much about schoolwork, but focus on sharing your calm, your strength, and your laughter with your children.

This is much easier said than accomplished, of course.

Today I write to remind you that Central cares and Central is here. Though we may “feel” different, we are essentially the same. Some of you are asking, “What does that mean?” It means that all of our staff are here, no one has been furloughed, and all of our programs are up and running. But the way we communicate is different —  it is remote, it is by phone, it is through deliveries, it is through safely offered rides, and it is through virtual experiences. But we are here!

The following is a summary of how we have been operating, by program, since the onset of COVID-19.

  • 56 barriers have been reduced/needs met over the last 4 weeks, averaging 14 per week.
  • We are supporting ~50 unique individuals weekly.
  • From March 25-April 15, we delivered 2,303 meals to after school families — two meals per child per family per day.
  • Monthly Community Meals have not be cancelled, but are now composed of take home bags picked up outside of Central, with ~60 meals provided.
  • A Comprehensive Resource Guide has been created, updated regularly. It covers resources for health and basic needs, but also includes resources for families and youth to fill their days with fun, creative, education activities.
  • Thank you to the handful of families who have sewn hundreds of masks for Central families! And thank you to the Columbus Foundation for funding sanitation products needed by Central staff and families.

Youth Services — After school and TRANSIT ARTS

  • Posting/sending 2-3 videos per week and additional lesson plans, which encompass art activities, storytelling, and integrate educational lessons (e.g., math, reading); supplies to complete activities are also delivered to afterschool kids. Check them out on YouTube or Vimeo
  • 30+ weekly check-ins via phone per week to afterschool and TRANSIT ARTS families.
  • Producing live music jams/streams and live virtual open mics, creating online art and dance challenges, and zoom poetry sessions where youth can showcase their talents.
  • Be sure to like Central Community House and TRANSIT ARTS on Facebook to join in on the fun.
  • TRANSIT ARTS is testing different ways to communicate, including hundreds of texts, social media posts, etc.
  • Delivering art supplies, books, and responding to individual needs of students. We are grateful to our friends from The Harmony Project and TRANSIT ARTS families who have donated a beautiful array of arts supplies/books through our Amazon Wish List.
  • Working to strengthen collaborations with schools, and get tied into their technologies.

Senior Services

  • Weekly phone calls to 133 seniors to see if there are any needs we can help with (which has resulted in deliveries/barrier reduction, including those noted above).
  • Services have included remote case management and transportation on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays in the early mornings for seniors living in six residential facilities to grocery stores (providing protective gear and hand sanitizer).
  • For additional updates, check out our April Village Central Newsletter.

Academy for Community Entrepreneurs (ACE)

  • Programming remains the same, though workshops and one-on-one assistance are now all virtual.
  • ACE released its first ACE Network Newsletter during the month of April.

Future Plans include:

  • Increasing our ability to meet basic needs, and adding additional virtual workshops/support groups (x 10) through emergency funding from United Way, planning for at least some remote programming for a long period.
  • We are also looking into having musicians serenade our senior clients, having activities where TRANSIT ART artists paint Central seniors and families from a distance, and creating activity books, supplemented by supply deliveries to our seniors (similar to what we are doing for our afterschool families).
  • Central is continuing facilities and infrastructure renovation projects at Main Street and Bryden locations.

I list all of these activities to encourage you to reach out, even if it is just to say “Hi!”

We would also like to know how you are doing, and how we could make your life easier amidst our new normal.

To end this message today, I thought I’d let you know what I am trying to do to help focus on the present and myself, in case it might be helpful to you as well:

  • Take deep breaths, and stretch often.
  • Spend time outside, such as going for a walk in the park, but follow social distancing — we are so fortunate to have Franklin Park within walking distance.
  • Focus on things you can control (for me, this is the hardest one!)
  • Listen to music or read books – our live streams and bedtime book readings help here, see our YouTube page for more.
  • Schedule virtual family visits, and safely check in on parents, grandparents and neighbors through calls and deliveries.
  • Limit your exposure or take a break from news and social media if you find that it makes you anxious.

Most importantly, know that if this is not enough to keep stress and anxiety at bay, you are not alone, and we are here to support you and connect you to any needed resources.

Alternatively, if you are in a place to give support, we hope you will donate so we can continue to persevere and meet the needs of neighbors in our community. Your donation means more than ever in the midst of these challenges. We will get through this together.

With warm regards, and until next time…

Tammy Forrest, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Comments are closed.