Throughout the silent storm that we all know as COVID-19 we have received immeasurable support from foundations like hospitals, food-banks, public schools, and first responder services. I thank and applaud these foundations and their essential staff; we couldn’t bear this storm without them. With that said, I also want to thank Ferncliff Manor, and all the organizations like it that offer irreplaceable services to our communities, but often go unnoticed. I wish to applaud these organizations, as well as ask for your help supporting Ferncliff during this difficult time.
Ferncliff Manor is a residential facility for children and young adults with developmental disabilities. Ferncliff is an educational organization, opened in 1935 as one of the first private, not for profit, schools offering expansive services to the community. Ferncliff is a resource, offering educational services and behavioral supports, enriched by leisure activities including art and music therapy, adaptive outdoor play, and movie and shopping trips, just to name a few. Ferncliff is a family-run legacy, bolstered by the partnership of numerous, dedicated staff.
Ferncliff is many beautiful things. But arguably most beautiful, Ferncliff is a home. A home filled with immeasurable smiles, laughs, and love, that would be impossible to create without the dedication of 24-hour nursing and direct care staff, as well as housekeeping and cooking professionals. Ferncliff is my brother’s home. I know the love and dedication of these staff members because I’ve seen it and felt it first hand, since the day he transitioned as a full time residential student over 7 years ago. And since that first day, the love and support flowing from Ferncliff has never once run dry. I know many families can say the same. And during this pandemic I hope our support for Ferncliff will not run dry.
As COVID-19 alters all our lives in ways un-foreseen or expected, Ferncliff’s essential staff has remained dedicated to their students, working increasingly hard to serve individuals’ needs as best as possible within ever-changing protocol. As all facilities and homes, Ferncliff has implemented new preventative protections for their students and staff. All outside and family visitations have been discontinued, including all home visitations. And of course, students are not traveling off school grounds for community events and outings as they were previously accustomed to. It is often difficult for individuals with special needs to understand why their daily routine has been so altered. “Why can’t I go home to see my family? Why can’t we go on our normal bowling or movie trips?” While the current circumstances have created a shattered reality for students, with help and guidance from the staff at Ferncliff, the students are adjusting as best they can. Staff facilitates virtual visits for family and loved ones, and works tirelessly to organize indoor and on-site activities.
While students work to adjust, we must not ignore the adjustment that Ferncliff’s staff must face as well. These individuals are putting themselves in harms way of contracting the virus, leaving their homes and families because they know they are so very, very needed as a beacon of stability and care. These nurses, direct care professionals, sanitation and housekeeping professionals, and kitchen professionals are essential to the students. But they are also essential to ME, to my family, and all other families like mine. Because of them I can sleep at night, knowing my brother is being taken care of and loved, just as well as I could take care of and love him. Ferncliff is his home and the staff there is his second family. It breaks my heart and makes it whole all at once to know these dedicated individuals are caring for my brother and his peers during a time when I cannot, during a time where many of us are only burdened by worry about taking care of ourselves.
So, I am asking for your help. Please donate if you are able, it means so much more than you may realize. A donation means a bottle of hand cream for a staff member who now washes their hands far more than they ever imagined possible. It means a new puzzle putting a smile on a student’s face. It means a snack or coffee break for a nurse or direct care staff who has spent hours in PPE. It means group art projects and decorations for a Memorial Day Party. It means the ability to provide a bit more comfort and normalcy.
While all monetary donations are greatly appreciated, Ferncliff would also appreciate physical donations of food or items (Please contact Olivia MacDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org to facilitate physical donations or catering orders).
Appreciated donations include:
- Giftcards (E.g. Amazon, Visa, AppStore)
- Catered food: Catered meals such as breakfast and lunch for staff, food for a “Coffee Break” (coffee and doughnuts from Dunkin or other cafés)
- Packaged snacks
- Hand cream
- Art supplies for student activities and projects (E.g. card making, painting, coloring)
- Games (board games, puzzles, indoor and outdoor games, Uno cards)
- Toys (sensory, musical, soft balls)
- Holiday decorations for upcoming holiday parties (Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July)
- Socks and slippers (students often walk around the facility in socks and slippers, they often become worn down)
- Gardening projects/tools
To learn more about Ferncliff Manor and its services you may visit: https://ferncliffmanor.org/