Our Pandemic Story –

Stories from around CSCL: the pandemic has affected us all in different ways – big and small.

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.”
― John F. Kennedy

It is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has created challenges in every area of our day-to-day lives. However, the pandemic has also created opportunity. People everywhere are finding creative ways to stay connected, support one another, and celebrate together, with many increasing their independence and learning new skills. In a time where we are required to be apart, people are being intentional about being connected and staying in touch, increasing social capital for many. This is reflected everywhere within CSCL, by our Leadership team, our employees, caregivers, families, and in the people we serve. When CSCL employees and caregivers were asked for stories about what they were doing to have fun, stay connected, and support one another during the pandemic, there was an overwhelming response. Many wonderful stories emerged of people finding creative ways to adapt services and stay in touch with friends and family. Here are some examples:

– Megan lives independently and receives supports from CSCL’s Independent Living Services. She recently acquired a mobility scooter, and during the pandemic, she’s been spending time learning how to drive it safely in the street. This allows Megan to access her community independently, running errands and going to her favourite places on her own.
– Larry (pictured above) is visually impaired and lives with his brother and caregivers. Larry has always enjoyed baking, but in the past, he’s always had a lot of support to bake. During the pandemic, he has been baking independently, with his caregivers only assisting by organizing and measuring ingredients. Larry is very proud of being able to bake on his own and everyone in his home is benefiting from eating his delicious creations!
– Shayne usually takes the bus to the Vedder service with her friends each day, but has been staying home due to the pandemic. However, she’s been excited to share with her friends that their bus driver is stopping outside her house each day to say hello. Shayne waits for him outside each day and they have a quick conversation.

Video calling is helping many of the people we support, as well as CSCL staff and their families, to stay in touch. The HomeShare department hosts Zoom calls for individuals and caregivers several times a week, to visit and play Bingo. As well as helping friends stay connected, new friendships have formed, with individuals now connecting outside the scheduled group calls. Zoom is being used by the Outreach team to run a virtual cooking class, and by the Vanmar team to run Bingo with other staffed residential services. Vanmar also hosted a virtual Cinco de Mayo party where they, along with two other houses, cooked fajitas together online. Ed, who lives at Bordas, is having weekly “ice cream chats” with his brother, who lives in Langley. Tracey, who lives at Vanmar, is loving the virtual world that has opened up to her. She enjoys visiting with her family by Skype and watching Julie Unger’s YouTube updates. Tracy even chatted with her old friend Brenda Gillette on the CLBC teleconference call. Perhaps the most touching story is from Mary-Lee Tondreau, CSCL’s Associate Director of HomeShare. Her mother, who lives across the country, has struggled to stay in touch as she is hard of hearing and relies on reading lips. However, now that she is using video calling, she is able to read the lips of the person she’s talking with and is more connected than ever.