In the coming months, Widening the Circle/Pathways to Friendship, a partnership program between the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and The Arc of Massachusetts, will be offering a series of conversation opportunities on lessons that have been learned about social connection and inclusion during the age of COVID-19. Each conversation session will focus on a specific lesson learned during these times.
Widening the Circle/Pathways to Friendship, a partner initiative between The Arc of Massachusetts and the Department of Developmental Services, has been adjusting to the changing world we live in as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Program Lead Jim Ross discusses Pathways’ new approach to facilitating friendships for school age children below and requests your input.
The article below was prepared just days before COVID-19 deeply changed the way we all are doing our work and living our lives. But one of the many things revealed by the pandemic is that our human service system’s workforce is in even deeper crisis than we thought and—despite many stories of strength and commitment—quite fragile, too. But another lesson underscored by the pandemic is that relationships and friendships may be the best vaccine against the isolation and loneliness. So always—and especially now—our workforce needs to devote attention, time and creativity to helping the people they support connect deeply with others in their communities.
We all hope that Massachusetts COVID-19 illness statistics will start to drop over the next few weeks. It is difficult to imagine what others are going through as we face our own sense of loss over these weeks. But what makes us human is appreciating that for others the experience may be more than they can handle.