We have a ten year old. This morning we were talking about shows we watched when she was much younger. We reminisced about characters and stories. I half expected her to ask me to get my phone to check out some of the programs. Instead she said, “Papa those are fun memories. I liked those shows, but now I see things a little differently. I’m older. I like different shows that challenge me differently.” And, just like that she taught me an incredibly important lesson.
One thing is clear – whenever we come through the tunnel of the pandemic, things won’t be the same for HBI. We’ll be different. We’ll have a different focus. It may be only slightly different, but it will be different.
I’ve been thinking about the differences a lot lately. Our team has responded to the pandemic in a very admirable and structured way. We’ve been on the front lines helping to bring services, supports and resources. We’ve stepped up to be a safety net for a number of people who are in our programs. I am proud of our efforts. However, when the acute needs of the pandemic begin to lift and fade, new needs will emerge; and we need to start growing and changing now to be the organization prepared to respond.
My hope is our planning and preparation will prepare us to grow as an organization to be a bridge in the new world that will emerge post-COVID. One program we’re developing as a direct result of the pandemic is working with young adults who formerly lived in the Casa Girasoles homes.
Many of the former Girasoles connecting with us during the pandemic are really struggling So, in response to this clear need – and in collaboration with Paths of Hope and the truly amazing team of Billy and Kate Greenman, we are starting a support program that seeks to help transitional age young adults find a path to the lives their deserve. The project is in the conception phase – although we’re already working with a few of the former Girasoles. This is an incredibly important effort that fortifies our work with the Casa Girasoles program by building a direct bridge for future opportunities and connections. And, it grew out of the pandemic.
I’m not entirely sure what new normal will be in the post-pandemic world, but one thing is very clear – we’ll need to see things a little differently. We will need to challenge our work in different ways. I think we’ll be ready.