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Holiday Greeting to Health & Transition Services Families

Holiday Greeting to Health & Transition Services Families

Dear Health & Transition Services Families:

I want to take a few minutes to wrap up 2020 and to share with you the successes, the challenges and what we’re looking forward to in 2021.

The year started routinely last January with an emphasis on supporting everyone to do the things they like to do. There were lots of hockey games booked, tickets to Festival du Voyageur and the new blockbuster movies. When we first heard about the novel coronavirus, we imagined H1N1 or MERS. As we began implementing our pandemic plans it became clearer and clearer that we were dealing with something none of us ever had before. This led to the sequence of events we’ve all been living through for the past 9 months as managing a global pandemic became the focus of our work. The number of times we reassessed, strategized, changed our response and adapted is quite remarkable.

In the chaos, you can always find beauty and there has been some beauty along this journey. When things got quiet in the spring, staff had more time to spend one on one with your family members, listening and connecting on a deeper level. Without the rush and the hustle of getting to activities and events, just like all of us, there was time to still our minds. Staff immediately began to explore options for keeping people connected and although technology doesn’t work for everyone, for some, we found the ability to keep in touch more frequently. As we move forward post-pandemic, we’ll look at continuing that kind of varied communication with families. As the world got quiet, the things that are most important to us rise to the surface – these are the priorities we want to keep in focus as our world starts to open up again.

Over the past number of months we’ve continued to support people who are ready to transition to the community to move into their new homes. Although the pace has been slower, the intention and personalized supports have remained strong. This year we’ve also spent more time communicating with our funders than ever before, giving us the opportunity to deepen our relationships and trust in one another. We look forward to continuing to build on that relationship as we know that being able to work in partnership through mutual respect is the best way to move forward from this shared experience.

This month the news of the vaccine has taken us all by storm and brought with it hope for a return to our pre-pandemic norms. Our work now centers on advocating for priority access – which looks promising given our staff were included in the first round criteria this week. You’ll soon receive more information about the vaccine and we will be looking to gain consent so that when the opportunity arises, we’re ready to go.

We’ve missed seeing all of you. We’ve missed seeing all of our colleagues and we miss the normalcy we took for granted every day. But we’re hopeful that we are nearing the end – or that at least we can see light on the horizon. I can’t tell you how much your words of encouragement, confidence, smiling faces over video, through windows and masks have meant to us. Our community is what gives us strength. Thank you for being a meaningful and positive part of our community.

Most of you don’t know this, but I’m not originally from Canada. My family emigrated from the UK when I was a young child. We left all of our family, our friends and holiday traditions behind. This year, as we head into a holiday season that’s different than ever before, I think about how my parents created new traditions and meaning for our family in a strange time. This is what I see all of us doing in this year; it’s not ideal, but we’ll do our best to make it meaningful.  

I wish you all the best over the holidays and the New Year.

Sarah Mankelow
Director, Health & Transition Services

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