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Important Beaver County COVID-19 Updates

Below is a collection of COVID-19 related updates from our Partner Agencies and other important services and resources in Beaver County. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.

Updates from Our Fellow Partner Agencies

Women’s Center of Beaver County

All of the Women’ Center services are operating in some capacity, as they are considered essential, life-saving services.

The shelter bed space capacity has been reduced to comply with social distancing requirements so that only one family/individual is occupying any bedroom area.  Normally we have space for up to 11 individuals in our community dorm room, so this is a significant change.  We have been doing some additional shelter through local hotels for domestic violence victims fleeing for safety.  We are also using a vacant transitional housing apartment as shelter space for one individual/family.  Only one shelter staff person is on-site at the shelter at any one time to reduce risk of staff exposure.  Additional shelter staff support is available during business hours, but is provided remotely.

All counseling and therapy services are being provided remotely through secure web programs or by phone.  Counselors and Therapists are working from home.

Advocacy/Accompaniment services are still being provided for PFAs at the courthouse, with appropriate social distancing protocols.  All other advocacy is provided remotely, off-site by telephone at this point, such as advocacy for victims at the Heritage Valley ER.  The nurses at the ER will facilitate phone contact with victims, when needed.

Our Education and Training staff have been developing some plans to implement educational efforts through social media.  They are all working remotely, off-site.

Only a couple of administrative staff are on-site on any given day, but generally all staff are working remotely on Fridays.  I will be in the office most days.  There seems to be a never ending list of things to problem-solve.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army continues to take lunches to children that are out of school, and cannot get to the schools to pick one up, in the Aliquippa, Beaver Falls and New Brighton area. We are serving almost 700 meals/day.

 Our food pantries are open, we have adjusted our hours due to CDC guidelines. 

Mental Health Association In Beaver County

The MHA has been operational with full staff in March.

For April, we are looking to cut some of the staff’s hours by 20%. We will continue to look for ways to restore their hours as soon as possible.

As for our services, some of the staff has started to work from home.

We closed our Drop-In Center until April 30 and extended the warmline hours. The hours are 12pm-9pm. We feel that this will help reduce some of the calls that might have gone to crisis and 911.

We are making daily phone calls to our Drop-In Center members. The Representative Payees are working hard.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

  Thank you very much for the update and for your support.  BBBS staff have been working remotely since March 17.  It’s been a struggle because much of what we do is on a database that links us to our national office. Our IT guys (Performance PC on Brodhead Rd. in Center Township) did a great job setting up 6 remote offices for us to stay up-to-date on match support, trainings, compliance and other communication.  My laptop was scheduled to go back to Dell for an issue that was still under warranty, so I have been working on an antiquated laptop and a new personal tablet that I just can’t get the hang of (of course, I tried to be a good steward and go the less expensive route when my kids tell me I should have gone Apple).  But, nonetheless, I got my laptop from Dell yesterday and Performance PC took virtual control this morning and made sure that I am now up and running again. 

    Well, as you know, mentoring is a wonderful thing that ultimately is done 1:1, face-to-face.  We have been challenged but not discouraged.  In fact, one aspect of mentoring that we stress all the time to our Bigs is encouragement! So, we are encouraging the encouragers to stay in touch as best they can through telephone, email, Facetime, Skype, etc.  We have shared tips on playing online games, mailing cards, virtual scavenger hunts, etc.  This has been working well with our community matches.  However, it’s been quite a bit more challenging for our site-based programs. 

    Our school-based programs, in which high-school students mentor elementary students, meet weekly in elementary schools.  They generally don’t meet outside of school time unless it’s by chance.  Well, given the uncertainty of schools reconvening this semester, one of our program coordinators has been contacting HS Bigs after contacting the Little’s parents for permission to keep the match connected via computer, phone, etc.  So far so good.  It’s not the same but it’s the best we can do.  We are encouraging Bigs that they can help to alleviate their Littles’ fears and at the very least, the Littles know they care by keeping in touch.  Our staff are very encouraging to Bigs, Littles, and guardians when they call for match support. 

    Our Geneva College program will not resume until at least September because Geneva students will finish the semester remotely.  The Bigs who will be returning have been asked to maintain contact with their Littles at least through May.  The Bigs who are not returning to Geneva (because of graduation or otherwise) have been asked to make final contact with their Littles and our staff will touch base with families to communicate future eligibility for rematch, etc. 

    Finally, our Beyond School Walls workplace mentoring program is also on hiatus until schools resume.  However, all Bigs are being contacted in much the same way as other site-based Bigs.  We are requesting that they maintain contact with their Littles via email, phone (text or call), and mail per parental preference.  BBBS Program Coordinator is continuing match support contacts with all parties. 

   So, we are doing our best to maintain programs as creatively and efficiently as possible. 

    We had to cancel Bowl for Kids’ Sake, one of our 3 major fundraisers.  But, of all the donations sent as sponsorships or pre-event pledges, not one person or business has requested a refund.  In fact, donations continue to come in for BFKS with notes of encouragement – from $10 checks to one for $1,000.   

    We have maintained a very active social media presence which has focused on:

·       the importance of connection by alternative means;

·       our appreciation of the support we have received;

·       staying healthy (physically and emotionally) during turbulent times – and especially doing so for those we mentor/care for.

We will apply for the CARES Act SBA loan to cover 8 weeks of salaries and utilities.  I am hopeful that this will keep us afloat.  We already have a very tight budget but will reduce our staff development costs (our national conference was canceled and we will take advantage of as many free online courses as possible).  Transportation costs will be reduced since we do not need buses for the Geneva and BSW programs.  Our annual Appreciation Dinner, scheduled for April 30, has been canceled and will only be rescheduled if the budget permits.  We continue to plan for our June 19 Golf for Kids’ Sake event but will monitor everything closely and make a final decision regarding that event by mid-May.

ARC/Achieva

We are continuing to provide essential services her at the Arc.  Most of the staff are working from home.  I come into the office most mornings and the other ladies have an assigned day to come in if they need to do faxing or mailing.  We are keeping our distance!  It’s a very odd situation but we are all adjusting.

We had to cancel our March recreation activity last minute and then again had to cancel our final two activities of the fiscal year that were planned for April.  That gave me the opportunity to call each family and see how they were doing.  Advocacy is still talking to their families as well.  Most of our families are concerned that when our individuals stay home they get use to that “new normal” and will have a more difficult time adjusting to their routine again.  I spend a lot of time talking to our families – both parents and our individuals.  It is hard to explain all of this without fear for them.  We have many folks that can’t go home on the weekend (from their group home) to be with their family because if they are taken out of their home, they are not permitted to return for fear of spreading the invisible virus.  This is very hard for our folks to understand.  Some of them think they are being punished.  

We cancelled our April camp weekend and hope we will be able to still have the May weekend as well as two June weekend camps.

Advocacy also has a unique situation with the schools and the special education population.  It is difficult to provide behavioral services virtually.  It is difficult to teach independence and so many of our children need the socialization.  When things go back to normal this will be a very difficult transition for many of our school aged kids because they love routine and they are learning a new routine now and will have to go back to another routine when this is over.  There are administrators from the local districts trying to figure out how to give the students an appropriate education virtually.  We have all been working together and communication is always key.  Parents worry!  We absolutely get that – mostly because we are experiencing that ourselves.  People need people to talk to now.  We can help with reassurance.

There are many resources and we all are helping each other.

Protective Services has its own unique challenges but are continuing to provide services for the elderly in Beaver County.  They are not allowed into most of the facilities and have found a different way to interview via phone.

So, that is what we are doing in a nut shell.  We are still here!  Still working!  Still communicating with our folks we support!

OH, and we are continuing to process day camp registrations too.  We are planning and at this time assuming we will have day camp which will begin June 22nd.

FAMILY SERVICES

My board decided to keep us safe we are closed until we hear that it is safe to return to work. I am going to the office to check messages, make phone calls and to answer the mail. I also check the e-m

ail from home. We are praying that all we love and care about will get safely through this crisis.

Myasthenia Gravis Association

So far, we are hanging in there.  We have been able to transition most if not all of our patient interactions over to telephone or virtual visits so we haven’t had an interruption in our service delivery.  This has also allowed us to move the majority of our team to be work from home status.  I still try to make it into the office 1-2 days a week just to check mail, faxes, etc.

We did have to postpone our comedy show (originally scheduled for May 2, 2020) until August 29, 2020.  We are currently having new fliers created so as soon as I get them, I will send you a copy.

If you have a chance, can you please promote the following information about a partnership we have in place with Midas…

April is National Car Care Month

Each year, the Car Care Council designates April as National Car Care Month in order to raise awareness about the importance of regular car care. Failure to perform regularly scheduled preventative car maintenance can cause breakdowns and make your vehicle unsafe.

The Myasthenia Gravis Association of Western Pennsylvania is proud to partner with Midas to offer free and discounted oil changes to friends and supporters of MGA.

For each $20 donation to MGA, you will receive a coupon card good for 1) a free oil change (or $20 off any service) and 2) a $12.99 oil change (or $15 off any service).  Oil changes include up to 6 quarts of Conventional 5w20-30 motor oil, an in-stock filter, a tire rotation and a visual brake inspection.

The coupon cards are good at over 100 participating Midas shops located throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Michigan, Kentucky and Georgia.  Visit www.midaspromos.com for a complete list of participating locations.

Remember, you will receive a coupon card for every $20 donation you make to MGA, so make multiple $20 donations and cover your oil changes for the rest of 2020.

For more information, call the MGA Office at 412-566-1545.  To purchase the Midas Coupon Cards, make checks payable to MGA and mail to MGA or WPA, 490 East North Avenue, Suite 410, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.  Please include “Midas Card” in the memo line of your check.

Catholic Charities of Beaver County

Our entire agency in all 6 counties has gone remote and staff is continuing to work.  Specifically for the Beaver office, all staff is continuing to work their regularly scheduled hours, which I am thrilled about.  All therapists have agency phones and are conducting confidential sessions remotely.  All staff also has access to voicemails as well.  Furthermore, we receive email alerts when a voicemail has been left at the office which is extremely helpful and really has made this process operate smoothly.  Clients have been extremely receptive to phone sessions as anxious and depressive symptoms have increased immensely.  We are taking things one day at time and assessing all needs within the community.  For the agency as a whole, leadership has scheduled meetings daily in which all leadership is able to brainstorm upcoming needs and logistics of operation. 

Homemaker Home-Health

We are managing fairly well during this time. I am working out of the office, Operations is working remotely. Our scheduling system is web based so as long as that isn’t compromised we’ll be good. We have seen a decrease in our hours, primarily from our Homemaker services clients. Understandable. Our Direct Care workers are amazing. They have adjusted, we have currently enough PPE and are working with our state association in regards to updates and sharing of information as it pertains to Covid-19.

Beaver County YMCA

Today, we have furloughed all PT staff (278).  We will be paying all FT Exempt and FT Non-Exempt employees through April.  I provided our Board with a six month cash flow projection and it will be very tight operating.  I attended a 3 hour call this am on the CARES Act.  Some good may come from that bill, but it being only the first workday since this passed, it’s too early to tell.

We are still serving meals (2500 so far) and supporting the SA so no child will go hungry.  We have created an on-line platform for members to workout virtually and we are now in the process of have virtual activities for all sub sets of our membership (IE baking class, story/craft time etc). We will be rolling this out by weeks end.  It will be a laundry list of activities for members to choose.  

Lifesteps

Lifesteps has taken precautions to reduce risk, employ social distancing, limit exposure, provide additional cleaning and sanitization, obtain needed supplies and adapt to the ever-changing world we are in due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Per mandates from state and national officials, Lifesteps has suspended the Adult Training Facility in Beaver, Preschool & Pre-K Counts, and some Child Care. We have been approved as a provider of Waiver Child Care for essential personnel of life-sustaining businesses. In addition, Developmental and Autism Screenings and our home-based Early Head Start program have been suspended. 

The Beaver County Program Center is not open to outside visitors, unless scheduled; however, Lifesteps does continue to provide life-sustaining services 24/7 for adults with special needs in Lifesteps Community Homes. Structure and routine is important for many and we are proud of how staff have responded to meet the health, safety and well-being (both mental and physical) of those that we serve. The suspension of services is impacting both those we serve and the staff; therefore, we are evaluating options for remote service delivery.

At times like these when we are physically apart, we look to ways to stay connected to those we serve and the community through information through emails, calls, social media, Lifesteps website and have included reminders about 2-1-1 as a resource in communications.

BCRC

BCRC was required to close our Center Place Community Participation Program (Production Center) on March 17th by order of the Governor.  This change affected over 125 clients who relied on BCRC for their programming as per their ISP.  We are now doing remote services.  Each client is contacted on a regular basis where we do a health and wellness screen.  For those who are connected, we have added group meetings, virtual tours, games, webinars etc.  For those who have no connectivity, we provide one on one phone sessions where we discuss a variety of topics, recreation, understanding of Covid 19, etc.   Our clients are responding enthusiastically but we all await their return as do they.

In addition, our work with the Beaver County Schools halted once the schools were told to close.  This affects approximately 45 students. We have been contacted to offer e-Learning for many of the districts. We are working to set up a platform to do so.  Hopefully we will be up and running soon.

Our Aurora Psych Rehab program in Beaver is continuing services via Telehealth.  Clients are enjoying this service but miss the group settings they had.  We are attempting to set up a private platform to allow us to bring them all together on line.

WIN Services in Beaver is running on a skeleton crew.  We are continuing with job coaching for clients who have not been furloughed by their employer but we are doing so with safety measures intact. Services for In Home and Community Habilitation are few and active Job Searching has been halted.

Our Records Management Department continues to work as mortgages and certain government contracts are deemed essential.

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