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ETS program staff stay connected with members; Mother and daughter express gratitude

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Social distancing can be difficult, especially lately for some of the participants at VIABILITY’s Employment, Training, and Support (ETS) program in Springfield, Massachusetts. Keeping everyone engaged has been a challenge, but recently Shawn Wise, Director of ETS, and her staff have found a solution that has had overwhelmingly positive results. In fact, one participant’s mother reached out to express her gratitude.

An example of a food that may be included in a lunch for participants in VIABILITY’s Employment, Training, and Support (ETS) program.

In early April, Shawn said her team began to offer lunch deliveries to program participants. Staff are contacting participants by phone multiple times a week to ask if the participant would like a lunch delivery and to engage with them. One particular participant was so thrilled by the phone call, her mother later emailed Shawn. “Being disconnected from all the staff and her friends has hit her hard,” the mother wrote. Her daughter was so happy that she received a phone call from ETS Professional Leslie Colon that she was moved to tears and said “Thank you, God, that Leslie called me.” The next day, after Leslie delivered the meal, the mother wrote a second email to Shawn describing how important it is to her daughter and others that the staff continue to stay connected while respecting social distancing guidelines. “All of you mean so much in each of their lives,” the mother wrote. “They sense what is happening around us and need the reminder that all of you are still there for them, no matter what is going on.” Shawn echoed that sentiment. “We at ETS recognize that every interaction you have is an opportunity to make a positive impact on others,” Shawn said. “We try to be mindful of our members’ needs during this time and offer words of encouragement as well as remind them ‘we will see you soon!’ It has been a difficult road but we are working as a team to put things in place for them to do at home as well as plan a safe return to the program.”