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Natick - Local Town Pages

Changes at Family Promise MetroWest

Oct 27, 2020 11:21AM ● By Chuck Tashjian

While the COVID crisis has required all of our staff to adjust to new workflows and priorities, the impact of the pandemic has been felt most acutely by our program managers, Eliz and Stephanie. As our “boots on the ground,” they’ve completely reimagined how to support our families, build relationships from afar, and find the resources they need to meet new challenges. At the same time, their caseloads have been steadily ticking upward. 

To help them as they help our families, we’ve been busily reconfiguring some of our other staffing roles behind the scenes over the last month. Kathy, our Volunteer Program Assistant, has transitioned into a new role as Family Program Assistant. She is now our first responder for all incoming calls for support, assessing callers for program eligibility, connecting them to program coordinators, and providing alternate referrals to other community resources and programs. She is also now coordinating all donation drives and volunteer services for families, such as academic tutoring or moving support. Her new responsibilities have lightened the load for our program coordinators, enabling them to continue serving more families.

Our inspirational van driver Sam, now home from his cycling journey across the eastern U.S., has also assumed a vital new role at FPM. What you may not know is that, in addition to being a reliable driver and dedicated cyclist, Sam is a retired psychotherapist. In typical Family Promise fashion, it didn’t take us long to unearth this skillset and ask Sam if he’d be willing to reactivate this valuable experience to benefit not just our families, but also our staff.

As our new in-house “wellness consultant,” Sam is attuned and attending to the mental health needs of all of us as we navigate COVID’s bizarre landscape. He leads our staff in mindfulness exercises at the close of each staff meeting, and is on tap to help us stay grounded and focused in other ways. He also now attends a weekly meeting with the program coordinators to review the wellness needs of each family and help the coordinators develop ideas and resources to fill them. A monthly online soial meeting for the parents in our hotel shelter, where they can simply chat and have an opportunity to support each other, is one of these new ideas that Sam and Stephanie developed together, and the families can’t wait to participate.

This pandemic has highlighted what we already knew so well: our staff is skilled, resilient, and always ready to do whatever it takes to care for the families who have turned to us for help. Although everyone’s willingness to flex and adapt and take on new challenges came as no surprise, we are filled with gratitude regardless.

With thanks to our team, and to all of you for your support,

Amanda Elkin, Assistant Director