How has Covid19 affected your work with families?
While Covid19 shifted my work from visiting families in their home to connecting with them virtually this past year, it has been both a challenge and a blessing in many ways.  There is something special and unique about working with parents and children in their own environment.  This type of work allows me to really witness the impact the illness is having on the entire family and target specific problems that may not be noticed had I not been in the home.  On the other hand, virtual work has sharpened my skills and challenged me to find new and different ways to connect with the parents and children so that I can provide the same support I did prior to the pandemic.  I have actually found ways to connect differently, and sometimes that means to actually say things like “if I were with you right now I would give you a hug or sit next to you for a shoulder to cry on”. I have also learned to say “if I were in your home with you right now, is there something I would notice that you might need help with that I can’t see because we are on zoom”? These types of gestures can really make a difference when you are trying to comfort someone who is suffering or scared or embarrassed to ask for help.  I have found that when I actually say that to someone, they do feel comforted and it comes as close as you can to that personal connection.  
 
While this may feel hard some days, I am grateful for technology and I am  proud to say that our services never shifted from our mission.  In spite of the pandemic, we continued to provide the same emotional and financial support we were providing pre Covid19, and in fact we have created new programs that we would not have been able to offer families had we not gone virtual.  We now have the ability to host groups for parents and children regardless of where they live.  I am grateful to be working for Friends of Karen during this time.  I truly believe we have been a beacon of hope to so many families who would have suffered greatly due to Covid19 had they not had Friends of Karen by their side.  And to that I thank our generous donors for keeping us going.   
 

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