Memo to: People we Support, Families, Guardians and Skills Society Employees
Re: Happy New Year and Important Message
From: Ben Weinlick Executive Director of Skills Society
January 5th, 2021 Update
Light on the horizon in 2021
First off Happy New Year to all! We hope everyone in our Skills Community was able to make the best of these times and find some kindness and support over the holidays. We know this was not an easy time for anyone. On a positive note, I heard that the Virtual CommuniTEA Infusion Zoom New Years party was a blast and the “new” generation got introduced to some classic tunes like the Love Boat theme song. Thank you to all who made virtual connecting events special for everyone we serve.
Just prior to the holidays, Skills had to take a tough stance by following health orders and advising people we serve not to visit loved ones in person over the holidays. This was very challenging and sad. There were many tears, there was frustration and anger, but in the end most families and individuals we support understood we are doing our best to keep people as safe as possible and follow health mandates in order to protect people. Everyone’s holiday plans were disrupted by the health orders. More people we support were isolated from loved ones than ever. This is especially hard as people with disabilities are often the most isolated citizens in our communities even when there isn’t a pandemic. For this reason Skills works very hard to tackle loneliness and figure out ways to support community connecting and deep belonging. Personally, not wanting people to be left out or left behind, is one of the core reasons I got into this work over twenty years ago. It tears my heart out to see people not valued for who they are and too often not having belonging and good connections. The isolation during the pandemic is very, very tough on people. My heart goes out to everyone and I’m so grateful for the employees, families, neighbours and allies who are creatively lifting people’s spirits, taking care of people and supporting alongside those we serve in these tough times. We want to make sure you know what a difference you make in people’s lives. Thank you.
We have to keep our collective efforts going. Now is not the time to become complacent.
The vaccine is coming soon and we will notify everyone as soon as we hear from the Government when the people we support and employees can receive it.
In the meantime, we cannot let our guard down. We are a bit worried like many Albertans that recent actions by some government officials might cause citizens to think they don’t have to follow health orders. This would be very harmful to the community and to the vulnerable citizens we serve. As hard as it is, we all need to continue to practice the safeguards health officials have advised. These measures reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect lives. We will do our best to get new information about health orders out to you as soon as possible. But please also keep yourselves up to date on the Government of Alberta COVID-19 website- Here
Our Skills community is truly in this together. Thank you for protecting each other, for doing the right thing and being good examples to others. We see you, we thank you. You matter.
Light is on the horizon for 2021. Hang in.
Previous Public Memos
Public Memos are available on our website under the ‘news’ tab.
Note: What’s happening with COVID-19 is changing rapidly. We become aware of new information from the provincial and federal governments and health authorities on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. We are working hard to be responsive to this new information as it becomes available. As such, information in this memo may change and quickly become outdated. We are doing our best to communicate new information to the people we support, families, guardians, and staff in a timely manner.