As I sit here writing this on a cold, grey day, I’m looking back at how we all managed to survive the mess that was the year 2020. No one could have predicted the almost constant onslaught of surprises the year threw at us, both personally and professionally. Certainly, I had my own share of curveballs to contend with as I’m sure you all have.
It’s like that in the non-profit sector too. Many of our programs rely on part time workers who, unfortunately, found themselves left with little to no hours due to the Coronavirus restrictions placed upon us. People who could had to get used to working remotely, and though at first that felt good, it soon started to feel isolated and lonely. Being a part of a team is hard when you don’t see the other members of that team except through a computer screen. For management, keeping morale up became a pressing concern. But the hardest part was how to serve those in need while still remaining safe and keeping them safe as well. Kenosha Human Development Services always tries to serve those who have the least and getting our workers to them during that time wasn’t easy.
Just when we thought we had a handle on it, we were faced with the summer of social unrest. We saw buildings burn down around our Community Prevention Center and KARE Center. The problem of racial inequality made us wake up to try to understand what more we needed to do to help our hurting community. We realized that right within our own agency we needed more education and experience in how to embrace ethnic and cultural differences. We used that time to start to learn how to be better, and the healing goes on.
Covid continued to rampage through Wisconsin and our programs still ran under strict guidelines. Some were shut down until we could guarantee safer conditions. Yet, we continued to provide quality mental health and AODA services to those in need. We housed the homeless. We answered the call from those in crisis. We did it all, watching and waiting for something good to happen, for a glimmer, for a change.
In the New Year, we have hope that there is a vaccine and Covid will have run its course. Maybe we can get back to business as usual. It would be nice to think we weren’t needed anymore. That there was no need for homelessness services or crisis lines, but until that time, we have hope that we will be able to always answer the call. KHDS has been here since 1974 to meet the needs of the community and, we hope, we will be here for a very, very long time.