COVID-19 Response
It's time to think out of the box... . April, 2020

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.
As we continue to develop this new way of serving our members while we are sheltering at home, we've experimented with different ways to participate in a variety of activities and games. A few examples....
Meet My Pet Day
made everyone smile
(except the pets :-)
An Easter craft was made with items everyone has at home.
Our music therapist Ms. Miquel has led sessions on "persevering through changes in our lives" as well as "fun with sound". .
Our virtual cooking activity could happen only because we have wonderful family support.

A special thank you to program director/occupational therapist Kathy Cookson who has learned how to manage this endeavor and is making every effort to keep The Next Stop connected as we continue to be safe by sheltering at home.
The Next Stop is certainly not unique in its efforts to re-think how to continue moving forward during these uncertain times. However, we do want you, friends and supporters of The Next Stop, to be up to date with how this pandemic is impacting our program.

We are committed to serving our members by providing them a way to interact with their peers, our volunteers and our staff until we can safely meet together again as a group. In the meantime, we are not requiring member families to pay a fee and as you know, our biggest fundraiser of the year - 14th annual Golf, Dinner and Wine event - has been postponed until September 28, 2020 .

The Next Stop Foundation, Inc.
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