Pandemic, Social Distancing, New Normal, Masks, Zoom – words that became all too familiar in our vocabulary this past year. Yes, this past year… I don’t believe any of us thought or could have predicted we would have a year like we just did. We will all remember the day we “temporarily” went to remote work or work-from-home status. The two-week mandate of business closures, no school, no traffic on the roads, when our favorite restaurants and places of business closed. That uncomfortable feeling of the unknown but hope that it would only be 2-3 weeks, then a couple of months, then 6 months, 9 months and now a year…
Many things changed over the past year, yet some stayed the same or even surprised us in a good way. I know what you are thinking: what stayed the same and what was good about this past year? Well – here is your answer:
Pressley Ridge’s commitment to those we serve stayed the same and even grew if that is possible. Our mission to do whatever it takes for kids and families was accomplished and then some.
While everyone was dealing in their own ways with the pandemic, many people who were already facing challenges in their lives encountered even more strife. Loneliness, anxiety, job loss, and isolation impacted those who already struggled with mental health, discord, conflict, substance abuse, lack of support and more. We could feel the stress increasing at alarming levels, but in true Pressley Ridge fashion, our staff stepped up and found creative ways to continue reaching those we serve. As they dealt with their own uncertainty and family situations, they remained committed to our kids and families. No one would be left behind.
We immediately shifted our services to telehealth. Therapists stayed connected virtually to ensure continuity of care. In-person visits for our most vulnerable populations continued while following safety protocols. Teachers and school staff connected with students virtually for educational purposes, as well as for story time, and organized drive-by graduation and birthday celebrations. Food was delivered to families who needed additional support, and foster parents continued to reassure the children in their care that everything would be ok. Residential staff became teachers and counselors in the purest forms of these words providing encouragement and consistency in a time of turmoil.
We also learned a lot. We learned about flexibility, patience, grace, and creativity. We have a saying that in crisis there is opportunity. Well, there were and still are many opportunities ahead. We realized that we can reach more people who need assistance through technology. We learned that the opportunity to serve others is a gift. We recognize now that we are stronger than we think. We understand the importance of taking the time to stop and be thankful for things we perhaps take for granted like human connection, hugs, handshakes, family, friends and, of course, our community of health care providers, social workers, teachers and businesses. We have learned not to take things for granted and to celebrate life’s blessings no matter how big or small. So, even though this year has been extremely challenging, it teaches us the lesson that there is always an opportunity to grow, to learn, to find a bright spot, and to hope.
This year highlights the best of what Pressley Ridge does day in and day out every day of the year:
We do whatever it takes to help others get through life’s challenges and bring hope in desperate situations – no matter the circumstances. Our staff aren’t essential workers, they are miracle workers.
President & CEO