By Bridget Kennedy, Business Development Liaison
We can all agree that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on us all. Like many of us, participants in Wildwood’s vocational and residential services suddenly had to shift their lives from being out in the community to staying at home. This created the need for new ways to connect with others, and interact with places that no longer could be safely accessed. It made us wonder: how would Wildwood fulfill a vision for community inclusion during a global pandemic?
The solution took shape as virtual meet & greets – mini question and answer sessions that paired local business professionals with individuals from Wildwood. Partners would ‘meet’ with individuals and offer their expertise and companionship in a way that met program criteria. Some partners talked about their first-time jobs, some played games or music, others gave tours of their new program or work space. Behind it all was the simple generosity of human connection and time.
With that, Wildwood would like to thank the people behind these pandemic-inspired partnerships – these allowed people to have meaningful “face-to-face” interactions at a time when they were truly needed the most. Through the kindness of these community partners, individuals at Wildwood were able to learn new skills and holistically understand how we are all in this together. In return, Wildwood’s partners saw the resiliency within the people at Wildwood, and how we are all more alike than one may think.
So, who are these kind partners? Here are just some of the many who have offered their expertise or friendship these past six months:
- NYLife Insurance
- MVP Healthcare
- NENY Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (NENYCOSH)
- Marshall & Sterling Insurance
- M&T Bank
- Albany Institute of Art
- Silver Soaks
- Hudson Valley Community College Educational Opportunity Center
- Homeless and Travelers Aid Society (HATAS)
- Ravena Public Library
- Wolters Kluwer
- Niskayuna School District
- Towne Bowling Academy
To these partners, Wildwood whole-heartedly thanks you.
As we begin to enter the fall, some individuals are getting ready to join the community again, only this time, it will be 6 feet apart and with limited exposure. We’re ready to safely and slowly return to long-awaited partners like The RED Bookshelf, Meals on Wheels, and Capital Roots… where individuals truly make an impact in the region through environmental, literacy, and food security initiatives. In the meantime, we discovered a new way to connect with the community, and hope to blend both in-person and virtual partnerships going forward.
For more information about how businesses can connect with Wildwood, visit business.wildwoodprograms.org and reach out if you are interested in working with us!