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The reopening of the Adult Program in mid-July was marked by virtual hugs and elbow bumps as we welcomed back more than half of our adult participants to the Center. While observing necessary safety precautions, both participants and staff are excited to be together again. View photos
To allow for social distancing, rooms have been rearranged and the larger group has been split into cohorts who will stay together with the same staff for four-week intervals. Making use of Smartboard and computer workstations in each classroom, the groups connect with each other and those at home through Zoom sessions every afternoon, as well as music each week with Mr. Matt. Art and yoga classes are being held in person, with a virtual option for those at home. Individuals who have elected to remain at home also receive daily one-on-one calls with staff.
“It was quite a process to create a staggered schedule that could work for everyone and allow for necessary safety precautions,” said Helen Burland, Executive Director, “but it is working very well so far.”
Each individual follows his or her daily schedule of activities, which can include reading, puzzles, shredding, and exercise in the gym, as well as daily walks in the neighborhood and at Lake Mohegan. While bowling and swimming is on hold for now, the staff has gotten quite creative with onsite activities. On a recent afternoon, Patrick N. and Natalie put the finishing touches on their homemade guitars, created from tissue boxes and paper towel rolls. Ryan and Ellie focused on painting the rocks they found at Lake Mohegan. On another morning, participants learned some interesting facts about ponies and horses in a live virtual tour of the stables at New Canaan Mounted Troop, a nonprofit that offers educational horsemanship and equine care programs for youth.
In the smaller cohorts, staff have had the opportunity to spend more individual time with participants and get to know them better. “It’s clear that these caring relationships are at the center of what makes Saint Catherine’s a special place,” said Brady Cronin, Director of the Adult Program.