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community living Cambridge is an
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association that supports adult and
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seniors with developmental disabilities
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in a variety of settings included
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supportive living in the community group
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living providing employment supports and
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all kinds of Day programs the agency's
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mission is to create opportunities for
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people with developmental disabilities
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to realize their citizenship and
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aspirations
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what began as a group of concerned
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family members advocating for the rights
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of their children grew into what it is
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today an organization that supports
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individuals in securing their rights in
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participating in the community as
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citizens in which advocates for
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fostering an inclusive community my name
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is Barry green and I've been living at
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Glamis road for over six years now and I
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have my worker that comes and takes me
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some appointments and baking is you know
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that so I see him probably at least once
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a week for more than whatever I'm
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working for the agency for 26 years so
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I've done that for the block of my life
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actually Monday to Friday from 9 to 3
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same people that I've worked with for
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the bulk of that same individuals that
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have come in to be supported same
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participants you know you get into a
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nice little routine and huge
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relationships so I'm sandy Baird I am a
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residential manager with community
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living Cambridge I have been working
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here for 35 years became a residential
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manager and 91 my name is Melissa I'm a
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mom of two kids and I have been working
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for can you living for the past 17
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wonderful years my name is Cindy McCain
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Musso I'm the interim executive director
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of community living Cambridge I've been
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an employee here for about 20 years in
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different capacities most recently
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Director of Finance and I'm temporarily
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filling the executive director role
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while we search for a new one my name is
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Luis total and I am the director of
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program development and residential
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services with community lead in
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Cambridge I've been doing this job since
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2013 but prior to that started working
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part-time in a group home and I make my
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way up to be in a residential manager
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and the job that I'm calling right now
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things have certainly changed for
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everyone since collberg 19 began the
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agency is no exception direct support
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professionals and other employees
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community members family and individuals
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supported by the agency have had to make
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drastic changes to their daily routines
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and schedules in order to protect
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themselves against the spread of the
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virus has been really challenging at
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every level we had a love staff who at
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the agency we had a lot of adjustment to
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make and all the group homes we had to
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close the day programs people that we
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support had to adapt to a new way of
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doing things that had no precedent in
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their lives since March 16th my work has
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closed we don't know when we're gonna be
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reopening I don't get to see my worker
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that but he can't come into the house
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been really tough we used to hang out a
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lot of it because of this covered 18
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it's been really tough we've been
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reassigned to different group homes to
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help out there so it's been a long time
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since I've done any kind of residential
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care and the program that I've been
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assigned to is completely different but
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there's a lot to learn as far as the
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people that are being supported in the
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group homes so their their behavior
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programs their everything within their
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diets and how they communicate and all
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of that so it's a big dynamic so it's
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it's and you're doing it fast so it
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takes a long time for that dynamic to
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kind of come together and and kind of
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slowly merge into into any kind of that
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caretaking role you got to let them you
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know catch a breath for a second all of
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the regular day-to-day activities are
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gone long gone things that were
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important five weeks ago we don't even
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pick it up right now even the duties of
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our job have changed so we're not
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worried so much about the paperwork end
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of things that's taken a backseat and
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what is important is are those staff
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safe are the participants safe are we
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doing everything we possibly can and
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supplying everything we possibly can to
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every thing that we do during the day is
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to look at staffing schedules to look at
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the supply of PPE the safety precautions
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that we have in place the protocols that
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are in place we're
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constantly updating them working with
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staff on different issues in our homes
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and we're dealing with some staffing
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shortages as well so the team here
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basically is a co vyd team right now
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individuals supported by the agency have
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had to face a new wave of challenges
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affecting their mental health social
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lives and more
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it's really that like to do because by
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gymnasium is closed all the them all is
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all closed and I still can't get my head
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around how some of our individuals are
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coping with everything changing terms
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from their routines to the people that
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are in their homes to you know the
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things that they just can't do anymore
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and yeah I I don't know I I think they
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they've done really remarkable as far as
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I'm concerned direct support
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professionals and other essential
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workers at the agency have continued to
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demonstrate their dedication and look
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for the individuals they support and
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have cultivated relationships with and
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have made sacrifices in order to
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continue to support them
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give us credit because NL must be heard
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how they leave with the railways coming
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in I think like most people I've had to
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try to adapt to a whole new level of
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normal and trying to face fears and some
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anxiety I'm kind of going to work and
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kind of being on with my mind
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I'm so happy learn some new coping
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skills it doesn't feel like you're
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working an eight-hour day right now you
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are working from 7:00 in the morning
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you'll get a text right through till
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2:00 in the morning sometimes at the
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same time you want to be there for your
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staff however despite these challenges
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the agency staff and community have gone
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above and beyond to stay connected have
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fun and stay as safe as possible during
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the pandemic you know the staff team as
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well I can't say enough about the staff
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team again hats off to the community
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became of staff still helping us keep in
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touch with everybody
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making sure we have our stuff that we
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need they've been doing are like tribes
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and cooking things and exercise classes
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and well we have very creative very
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amazing staff so we've had people doing
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NHL hockey games in the house and doing
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McDonald's drive-throughs in the house
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and just setting up the environment to
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replicate the activities that they're
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missing in the community it was a staff
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like Easter weekend so the staff got
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together and got some stuff from the
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grocery store and for the ones that were
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not able to get home for Easter dinner
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they made a whole bunch of Easter
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dinners the local community of Cambridge
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Ontario has also responded we have a
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community that is always looking after
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us and so we had a lot of support from
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people donating masks and you know
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making masks for our staff when we
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didn't have enough community businesses
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reaching out to us saying hey we can
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help with this and we have cakes that
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we're not going to
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be able to sell we like to donate into
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the group homes and cheer them up and
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just make sure that they know that
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whatever is happening you guys are not
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alone and so that's been wonderful the
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community's been really good for people
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that have a friend that every every week
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has been taking meals shopping so I
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don't have to worry about taking the bus
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or whatever I think all Groupon agency
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needs to be helped out with supplying
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extra PPE so they don't have to go and
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buy themselves or whatever the agency
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also quickly sprung into action in order
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to ensure everyone's safety so a few
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years ago we were mandated to put
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together a pandemic plan for all the
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agencies that support individuals with
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intellectual disabilities because at the
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time we were hearing about all the
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possible outbreaks and so we were
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basically trying to put something
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together to be prepared fortunately at a
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time nothing really happened and we just
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continued life as usual until the
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beginning of this year when they fund
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emic sort of touch everybody's lives in
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the world that's where we realized that
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we had that book and that plan that we
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never used before and it just came back
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to running center of everything that we
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did agency response has been really
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positive and supportive right from the
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beginning and they're doing everything
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they can to ensure our safety and our
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well-being as much as possible there's a
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lot of new protocols and plays you know
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just really trying to monitor
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everybody's like health and well-being
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so there's lots of extra cleaning going
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on so our response has been one of
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primarily prevention we realized that we
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have a very vulnerable segments of the
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community that we're supporting a lot of
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the individuals that we support have
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underlying health issues a lot of them
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have compromised immunity and a lot of
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them are unable to make that ongoing
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conscious effort that we all are trying
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to do in not touching our faces making
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sure we're washing our hands so we're
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trying to support them as much as we can
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that way as well as to keep any type of
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risk out of our living environments that
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our individuals are residents of we are
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making sure that people are assessed
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when they come to work and we realize
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that the risk for kovat is primarily us
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putting them at risk because the folks
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that we support have not been out of the
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house I mean the agency also we lock
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down houses well before a number of
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agencies did so that meant no no
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visitors in and out including families
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which is really tough for them in
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response to colvett and in preparation
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for any possible cases within the agency
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cos they quickly sprung into action
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converting one of the day program
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facilities into an isolation ward
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I found it really great that they were
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so quick and coming up with a plan with
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a place as an isolation center should
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the worst case scenario occur they would
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have the supports around them unfamiliar
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faces around them and that's so
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important if we had an individual at the
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hospital I think you know everybody out
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there knows that you can't have anybody
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with with that individual to support
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them and hold their hand and I mean
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that's across the board for everyone but
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particularly with our folks if someone
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is going in there and they maybe are not
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able to understand what's going on fully
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they're in a hospital they're alone they
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have no supports and the nursing staff
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who are overworked tired or they're
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exhausted how are they going to get
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through that and there isn't a situation
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a setup within the hospital system that
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allows for that and you know it's just
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something we are going to have to deal
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with should it happen but at the same
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time we have this sort of extra step in
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there and that's that's really terrific
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along the journey the agency directors
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and other essential workers faced a
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variety of barriers that come with
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supporting a segment of the population
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that is disenfranchised and often
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forgotten I think all the things that
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has come to light is how little
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important people know about who we are
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in what we do and those people are
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people that are making decisions during
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the pandemic and that had put us at the
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end of the line when it comes to some of
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the resources that we need in order to
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continue to be without positive cases
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one of them being the lack of
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understanding of what it is to be in a
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group home so not many stakeholders know
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that those are homes for people that are
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not sick they're not people that are
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unhealthy these are groups for people
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that are perfect the way they are
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therefore the supports that are around
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them are those to advocate for social
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inclusion
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people that are making decisions about
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supports doing COBIT believe that we are
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group homes that provide health care
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they don't understand the visa people
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that live in at home and the staff that
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our system assistant to the daily live
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in activities rather than tending to
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them because they have a disease or they
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have a condition no we don't have nurses
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we don't staff health care providers we
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have these w's pows the recreational
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workers are doing their job to assist
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people to be socially included and so I
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think some of that lack of understanding
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has an effect and the way we had
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perceived some of them services because
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with you know the healthcare sector the
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long-term care sector are very big and
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very frontline and very vulnerable so
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whereas a lot of the legislation that's
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coming down generally we're not on that
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radar there is still the special need
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that we have for a lot of that type of
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support despite the setbacks and
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barriers the agency has remained United
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and resilient in the face of
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unprecedented challenges they continue
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to provide the best support possible and
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hope to make a lasting mark not only on
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the folks they support but also on the
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community and wider society
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um the people we support can't survive
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without us it's not a matter of their
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lives don't go along as easily or as
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well if we're not there I mean they
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literally cannot not have us there
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so let's essential you cannot do this
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job without those frontline staff they
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are absolutely key doctors who said it
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best you know we are here we are here a
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lot of people don't know we are here or
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what we do and not only support us but
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you know be our good neighbor come work
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for us and if you're in a position to
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support us financially that'd be I mean
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better see us know that we're there know
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that we're in your community know we
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need some supports we need PPE at every
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single level of the agency something has
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changed something has been done
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something will never be the same again
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many lessons and hopefully when we go
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back to whatever the norm will be would
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have grown wiser and more efficient and
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with many more resources because we
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survived I hope that this video will
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help us sort of paint a picture what
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it's like to be supported by an agency
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that community living he came rich what
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it's like to work in an agency community
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living in Cambridge and how important it
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is that we have education in the
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community understands what we do so when
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situations like this happen we had the
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response at the time that we needed in
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how we need

Community Living Cambridge Responding to the COVID Pandemic

Like the rest of the world, Community Living Cambridge has faced a new and unique flood of challenges due to the COVID pandemic. Despite these challenges, we have come together to continue to provide the best support for the individuals we support. If you are interested in seeing how CLC has been responding to the Pandemic, check out this video of interviews conducted with members of our CLC family, discussing their experiences with being essential workers on the front lines of the Pandemic, and the barriers that agencies who support disenfranchised and vulnerable sectors of the population like CLC face in these unprecedented times. Thank you to our interviewees; Barry Green, Tracey Gowing, Sandy Baird, Melisa Conely, Cindy Mackay-Musso, and Lourdes Toro for their time, insight, and all of your hard work.

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