June 1 was my beginning at ProAct and to say that our participants are dearly missed is an understatement. For many who rely on our services, the feeling is mutual. From the calls and e-mails we are getting, I know there is great anticipation to come back. Relationships are at the heart of human services, and I’m learning that ProAct is exemplary in this regard.
There are pre-COVID stories of participants stopping by CEO Steve Ditschler’s office to say hello. Many eyed the candy dish and he would welcome them to partake. It’s hard to resist candy. But Steve, as many of you know, exhibits a kind of genuine compassion that we can all learn from. We are delighted that he will continue to be a part of the organization as he transitions to his retirement.
The ways in which we connect are changing. We have virtual enrichment services that are going strong, I would say even leading the way in our industry – and we have a return of some participants to our facilities, with lots of precautions and limitations.
You may have heard that in-person services were opened for people living in congregate settings. ProAct is formulating plans to serve these individuals in our second phase of reopening within the guidelines of DHS.
The desire to get back to work on the part of our staff and participants is evidence of the real need for what we do. No one just wants a handout. People desire opportunity, and to show that they’ve invested in themselves to improve. That’s what we’re doing, as we adapt to new requirements.
We were knocked down, but are now on the upswing. Surviving? Yes, but thriving is where we will be again soon. You can continue to be involved by reaching out to your legislators and reminding them of the need and importance of the day program in your lives.
I will close by saying a big thank you to all who have welcomed me, shared your concerns and filled me in on what ProAct means to you. We are in this together.