Part of our Together While Apart campaign, #MyMaskMyStory is a collection of personal accounts from individuals with deep ties to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include those who have volunteered, those who have donated, and those who have received.
“I’ve been working with FCSN for almost 4 years, so I started as a volunteer way back in 2015, and I can say that the after school program is my second home. They have inspired me to be kinder and also learn more about the special needs community. It helps me be a better person, to really engage with our kids.”
“Before, whenever we had a class, we had a face-to-face engagement with the children. But, since the pandemic, we’ve prioritized the kids’ safety, and we still engage them, but in a different format, which is Zoom. We try to have interesting classes like storytime and arts and crafts. Ahead of time, we tell the parents these are the materials you need. We keep it simple and accessible to families, that way they can get the materials conveniently for their children, as well as still providing a quality education and learning [experience] for them.”
“For staff, we developed a procedure to make sure that everybody that started coming back in and out of the program is safe and staying healthy. Right now, we have face masks. We also have enough gloves. HR also provides us raincoats to cover our bodies, cause sometimes we have to take our children [who attend in-person activities] to the bathroom, and we need to protect ourselves more, so we do have full gear for PPE.”
“At first, I thought, ‘oh, it’s just news on TV,’ but when the pandemic became International, it already created a ‘new normal,’ because we all have to wear masks. But, over time, I think that wearing the mask is very important because it not only protects ourselves, but it also protects other people. It doesn’t hinder your breathing too much, it’s more of like a protection to watch [out for] yourself and others, too.”
“[Tzu Chi is] an inspiration because you’re not only helping us, but you guys are also helping a lot of people. By giving us the masks, you also help us to protect our students. That’s why we really really appreciate your kindness and are very, very thankful that you are supporting our organization.”
“I cannot predict the future, but if ever things get better we still need to be cautious. We still need to practice hand washing all the time, make sure that the kids are healthy when they come here to the program, and communicate with their parents if there’s something that we need to relay to them. We need to also be more supportive with our staff because they also have families to protect. As a whole organization we are trying our best to be safe and support every staff member and all the families involved in FCSN.”
Ana Theresa Adriano is an afterschool coordinator for Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN). Discover the full #MyMaskMyStory collection here, and help us do more to keep vulnerable communities more protected from infection through our Unidos en la Distancia: en el Largo Camino de Compasión fundraising campaign.