Just as life drastically changed for all of us in March due to COVID-19, so too did it change for the young boys and girls living in our five group homes. Their established routine of going to school each weekday and enjoying weekend outings was abruptly suspended. Overnight, their lives changed, and like millions of other children across the globe, the 40 children in our residential program would need to stay home.

Our direct care staff and therapists who work with our residential clients recognized immediately that our children especially would need support and encouragement to get through this difficult time. To promote a sense of security, the staff quickly acclimated the children to their new daily routine. While housekeeping tasks, individual therapy sessions and life skills training would remain the same, new protocols for frequent handwashing and social distancing have become part of the norm.

Virtual schooling has become a key focus, making sure the children have the appropriate technology (laptops, iPads, network access) and materials to be successful. Each day, the residential staff and educational liaisons make sure the children are online during their required times and assist with assignments and projects. A few of our children have stepped up to help other clients with their lessons. In fact, some of the older girls at our West Palm Beach campus have begun tutoring the younger boys who live at the campus.

The staff have developed creative ways for the children to stay active and entertained. The staff are teaching the children classic outdoor games like four-square, hopscotch, kick ball, and water balloon tag. The children have also been creating beautiful drawings and messages on the campus walkways. In the evenings, the children and staff watch movies and play board games such as Monopoly, Battleship, and Uno.

While the current situation has certainly been an adjustment for our staff and clients – and not without its rough spots – overall, everyone has acclimated well and remains positive. In particular, our direct care staff have gone above and beyond to ensure the children feel comfortable, supported and encouraged during this period. To date, all of our staff and clients remain healthy.

If you wish to support the children and families at HomeSafe during the pandemic and beyond, we invite you to make a contribution through our website at www.HelpHomeSafe.org. If you have questions, please contact Shannon Wayte at 954-529-6776 or ShannonWayte@HelpHomeSafe.org.

HomeSafe is grateful to the following benefactors whose contributions directly offset our unexpected expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic:Leslie L. Alexander Foundation, Boca West Children’s Foundation, Terri & Jim Eggers, The Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation, The Jim Moran Foundation, The Nichols Foundation, Stoops Family Foundation, and Sunshine Health Child Welfare Specialty Plan. We appreciate you!

Child Looking at Water alone

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