If you knew what was coming in January of 2020, how would you have prepared? Would you have tried to pick up a new hobby that you could do from home? Maybe sneak in a last minute vacation?
It goes without saying that the last 20 months of pandemic life has been hard for most people. For those who face challenges with social inclusion, it has been a particularly difficult time. Luckily, there are groups working to build an inclusive community for everyone.
Community Ventures Society (CVS) is one of those groups. They were founded in 1978 to help meet the challenge of social inclusion. Since then, CVS has been opening doors to opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families.
The children’s respite program in particular has been a lifeline for families during a difficult time. This family-to-family program lets the child go to a home of a trained caregiver.
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The Children’s Respite Program
For parents, the program gives youth an opportunity to connect with others their own age, helping them build strong relationships that they might not otherwise be able to get at home. It can also give them a break to catch up on other tasks such as getting groceries or just allowing them to take a night off. For aging parents or those with older children, this service can be even more valuable as care can sometimes be more difficult.
For caregivers doing the respite work, they recognize and see the need for this work in the community. They take this role on for many reasons, including:
- It gives them the ability to share and build an inclusive home with their own family.
- Their children have moved away and this allows them to experience the joy of having the children around the home again.
- For others, they just do it for the love of helping out others.
How it Helps Youth
Most importantly, this program is vital for the youth. On top of giving them an outlet in a time of isolation, it helps them meet other adults and youth. These relationships can provide them with lifelong connections and teach them the importance of community.
Respite visits generally happen over a weekend or on an overnight basis, allowing them to see other families and experiencing more of the community.
One of the former youth who participated in the program, Ryan, recalls his time with the program, “for me it was an opportunity to see other kids and make new friends. I’m really glad that I was able to have the experiences that I did.”
Ryan would spend a night with his respite family once every 2 weeks. It might not seem like much, but for his mother, it meant the world. “The odd evening with Ryan away helped me catch up with the other tasks that needed to be done and to take a breath for myself. I can’t thank CVS or the respite workers enough for their help.”
Community Ventures Society is helping build inclusive communities where people belong and have opportunities to contribute. Learn more about how you can make an impact in the life of a child and local family just like Ryan by becoming a child respite caregiver in your community.