Dear Citizens Community,
I hope this email finds you safe and well. As always at Citizens, we celebrate our successes and look for ways to turn our challenges into ways to better chart our future. We hold this mindset while seeking to meet our mission in these extraordinary times.
For Citizens’ exceptional team, it is not enough to carry on. Every day, our extraordinary staff of direct support professionals, clinicians and administrators show up ready to give their all. From unique Zoom sessions to sibling virtual meetings – we are evolving to meet the needs of the people we support in new and creative ways. Truly, it is because of our team’s resilience and dedication that we have been able to do so much to promote the health, safety and engagement of the people supported.
I am pleased to report that COVID-19 cases have stabilized and are on a downward trend at the agency. We remain cautious but optimistic. We will continue to maintain our ComeUnity Recreation sessions online. While we are exploring the feasibility of some form of Camp Loyaltown to open in summer 2020 — we are in the process of creating Long Island-based recreational activities to also take place during the summer months. As New York State’s Department of Health has not yet made a decision regarding permits for summer camps or recruiting agencies processing staff visas, we believe this planning is prudent.
While we recognize those who are in good health or in recovery, we hold those we have lost close to our hearts. In the coming weeks, we will be reaching out to family and staff members on how best to remember the men and women who we have lost, and share that information as well. It is clear that each of us, in our own way, is grieving as a result of this crisis. We must look forward to a time we can do so together.
Thinking as a community, we also try to make the most of every day and recognize the excellent work of our team. I’d like highlight the generosity and good will of those supporting the COVID-19 Fund. Twenty-one houses are now able to take a night off from cooking and enjoy a meal knowing that their essential work was being thought of and recognized. Also, feel free to share a word of support for staff on Citizens’ Facebook and Instagram accounts – it’s also a way we can continue to create awareness with legislators about our community.
Advocacy for the next COVID-19 Stimulus package is also underway. Though the U.S. House of Representatives will not return to session, as planned on Monday, May 4, we must make sure our lawmakers understand the need for necessary home- and community-based services funding. If you haven’t already, I urge you to sign this advocacy letter.
Thank you for your support and trust in us as we move forward and through this health crisis. I send you all my best wishes for good health.
Stanfort J. Perry