Generosity & Kindness Part 2: We are Family

In today’s installment of our blog series leading up to #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity on May 5th in response to the COVID-19 crisis, we give thanks for the outpouring of kindness and generosity we have received from the families and guardians of our students and adult residents during this difficult time.

At Latham, our residential programs are partnerships. Our families play an active role in helping us to care for and support the educational, vocational, clinical, and personal needs of their children. Latham families and Latham staff members learn from and rely upon one another. Parenting a child with special needs can feel very isolating, and placing a child in residential care is a difficult decision — wrought with complex feelings and concerns. Latham parents and guardians often connect with one another for support, guidance, and understanding – even a sense of humor. We are a community, forged by our mission – to create opportunities for independence, self-worth, and happiness for the individuals we serve. And like all communities, we celebrate our achievements and we navigate challenges together.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been a challenge. In a recent letter to our Latham families, President and CEO Anne McManus wrote,

“I recognize that you are bearing the burden of not being able to visit your children here at Latham during this unprecedented global emergency. Still, you have tearfully asked what you can do to help, and you have called and sent emails to express your overwhelming gratitude for our staff members who continue to care for and support your loved ones. You are part of the Latham family, and we couldn’t do this life-changing work without you. We’ll find ways to ‘let you in’ without your physical presence. Thank you for your strength and partnership”.

At a time when our families could easily have been overwhelmed by anxiety and fear, they have rallied to let our staff know how much they are valued, trusted, and appreciated. Boxes of gloves, masks, toilet paper, and disinfectant have been shipped to us from as far away as Puerto Rico. One family even sent all of the ingredients needed to make hand sanitizer. Over a thousand dollars in gift cards have been donated as a way to say thank you to our staff. Grateful families have arranged for the delivery of special staff meals and Dunkin Donuts gift cards (we are New Englanders after all) to spread cheer.

While much of the country is sheltering in place, the classrooms, dormitories, and group homes at Latham Centers are open – and essential. Our nurses, teachers, maintenance staff, clinicians, program directors, house managers, supervisors, and direct care staff are working round-the-clock to ensure the health, safety, and happiness of our students and adult residents.The outpouring of love and support we have received from our Latham family members means so much! To all of our Latham families, we send our heartfelt thanks for trusting us, partnering with us, and encouraging us. Your kindness and generosity have lifted our spirits. It is our privilege to care for your loved ones, and we all look forward to welcoming you back to our campus and our group residences when we are safely on the other side of this crisis.

Tomorrow, in “Generosity & Kindness Part 3,” we’ll share some special images and heartfelt appreciation for our community’s generous “Wish List” donations.


Pictured: Residents and staff take a walk together near one of our group residences on this sunny spring day here on Cape Cod.

Submitted by Heather Kelsey, Director of Development

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