Together, keeping focus on the importance of our work

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Dear Citizen Advocates Family and community,

We all – the Citizen Advocates family and the world in general – are in uncharted territory, and it is important that we remain calm, show solidarity and stand by each other.

This is a very difficult and uncertain time for everyone, but we are not losing sight of the importance of our work. We remain committed to those we serve and all of you providing those essential services whether it be direct care (DSPs, nurses, clinicians) or those keeping our systems and supports running (IT, finance, HR, facilities, transportation). Each, in your own way, have a piece of you fully engaged.

As the situation with the coronavirus quickly evolves, please know that we have taken proactive steps to protect our staff, those we serve and the communities where we live and work. Our COVID-19 Taskforce led by James Button, our COO, is dedicated to our response during this challenging time. By early March the Taskforce developed a multi-stage plan by asking employees what it would take to keep up operations with a limited physical presence. We discovered that we could do it, but that we needed to think differently about our priorities and how we could operate. The Taskforce worked through all of the logistics and have developed an excellent plan that we are executing with adjustments daily.

To protect you and your families, our organization, and the communities we live and work in, we have made it possible for as many colleagues as possible to work from home. By doing so, we will live up to our social responsibility to prevent the virus spreading further and continue to support those of you who are providing for those we serve. The continuity of our services and safety of our employees are our top priorities. I realize that working from home comes with some issues, from dealing with restricted access to some of the tools you rely on, to enforced isolation from your teammates.

Please be reassured we are doing everything we can to minimize the disruption to the way you work. Even though most of you will now be distanced from your colleagues, please stay in touch with each other and offer each other the necessary support. We remain a close family whether we are in the same place or not.

The last few weeks of planning for the unknown — and then the reality — have revealed silver linings. These silver linings are being communicated in the daily emails and on Facebook. We have heroes everywhere finding or sewing masks, setting up home operations and heartfelt messages from those caring for our most vulnerable residents.

Our nurses have provided exceptional leadership with the ever changing federal and state guidance. We are quickly becoming a more technologically-savvy and agile organization, with hats off to our wonderful Information Technology department who quickly supplied our staff with the tools to work at home and our Facilities Department working to find much needed supplies.

When this crisis is over, and that time will come, my wish is that we will all be wiser and more human. Until that time we wish to assist you in any way possible to help you feel more secure and less anxious. We will build back better than ever and remain dedicated to our mission. I hope you and yours are staying healthy and we look forward to better times for our continued work together. Support and kindness will get us through this.

Stay safe and healthy.

Gratefully yours,

Martha J. Dishman, President
Board of Directors