Generosity & Kindness Part 5: Honoring our staff on #GivingTuesdayNow

Director of Development Heather Kelsey shares a timely and heartfelt message of gratitude to honor our essential – and exceptional – staff here at Latham Centers.

Today is #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Today, we celebrate and thank our dedicated staff for the many ways that they have exceeded all expectations during this unprecedented crisis.

We hear a lot about how COVID-19 has ushered in a “new normal”. Many of us are struggling with the burden of uncertainty and fear due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The familiar rhythm of our lives has been disrupted and we feel vulnerable. Let’s face it, when a quick trip to pick up milk and bread requires a mask and gloves, it is difficult to feel at ease.

At Latham, the children and adults we serve are among the most vulnerable — to the virus, and to anxiety caused by changes in structure and routine. Challenge is nothing new to the individuals we serve. They have been facing challenges with grit, resilience, and optimism their entire lives. Their families and guardians have been right alongside them, supporting them, loving them, advocating for them, and protecting them. If anyone understands the concept of a “new normal,” it is the families of our students and adult residents. Most parents of children with special needs have been navigating challenges by adjusting to one “new normal” after another for years.

We often say that the relationship between Latham Centers’ staff and our families is a partnership, and any strong partnership requires a great deal of trust. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly tested this trust. To keep our students and adult residents safe, families cannot visit their children on campus or in our group residences. We cannot allow home visits or family outings. Adult day programs are closed, and dormitories have been rearranged.

This is a sly and stealthy virus, and it has thrown every obstacle at all of us. But if challenges are solved by rising higher than the level of the challenge, our staff has certainly risen. Our caring, dedicated staff are among the heroes of this pandemic.

Our staff has rallied to support our students, adult residents, and their families in extraordinary ways. They have fostered honest and open communication through diverse platforms. They have anticipated the unique needs of our students and adult residents, and they have invented fun and innovative ways to keep everyone happy, healthy, and engaged. Many of them are juggling the responsibilities of homeschooling their own children or caring for aging parents, but they show up each day with energy and enthusiasm. Our teachers have embraced distance learning, working to connect students remaining on campus with those who are sheltering in place at home. Our clinical staff has planned for any conceivable scenario. They have prioritized the health and safety of each individual and each staff member. In a time when PPE, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant are next to impossible to find, our staff has collaborated with peer agencies, uncovered new connections, and ensured that we have what we need.

On this global day of giving, if you are able, please consider making a gift in honor of our incredible staff. Funding will support areas of need associated with our response to the pandemic:


· Cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer

· Technology to support “virtual visits” with family and friends

· Activities

· Other needs associated with our COVID-19 response

On our Latham Centers donation page, there are options to donate to “where the need is greatest” and to make your gift in honor or memory of someone (or you may even specify a Latham team or department you’d like to recognize).

On behalf of the Latham staff, families, and the individuals we serve, thank you. We deeply appreciate everyone who has embraced our community during this time.


Pictured: Just a few of photos of Latham staff happily creating brighter futures (taken pre-social-distancing, of course).

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