Dear Friends of The Next Stop,
Because the health and safety of our members is a prime concern of The Next Stop, we responded to the fear of the rampant spread of COVID-19 by closing on March 13th. We realized early that we are not only a group of people in close contact, but also serve a group that is at risk.
As days passed, The Next Stop recognized that we were facing the same issue The Next Stop was founded to address in 2006. Our members were again at home--lonely, idle, and
isolated from their community of friends
. It was time to think out of the box.
It didn't take long for our leadership staff to begin researching a new way to provide our members the social community that was now missing. Like many others, we began learning the video platform Zoom and spent countless hours teaching and supporting our families and members to be sure they could participate. At this moment, 89 percent of our membership is attending Zoom sessions where they see and hear their peers, our staff and volunteer mentors!
As we told our families, this is a work in progress as we determine ways to continue interacting through games, group activities, music, cooking, etc. But no matter what we "do" while on Zoom together, we know that just the contact and connection is certainly lifting everyone's spirits and is beneficial to our members (and to us!).
Meeting this way also gives us the unique opportunity to help encourage our members. We remind them that we are not "stuck" at home, but rather "safe" at home and by staying home, we are protecting each other.