Transforming Traditional Services to Creative Virtual Opportunities

To meet the challenges of this new environment, teams have designed creative digital strategies to help people with disabilities continue to achieve goals during this pandemic.

Published in In the News, Press Releases

As the current public health crisis continues, ServiceSource has emerged as a leader in virtual service delivery. The organization has drawn on its resources and expertise to creatively expand current lines of business and explore new opportunities. We are working collaboratively to redesign traditional services into virtual “telemedicine” inspired solutions to continue operations creatively during this new normal.

Staff in all departments throughout our regions of Delaware, Florida, North Carolina, Utah and Virginia are utilizing digital platforms to conduct wellness checks, host workshops and events, facilitate virtual discussions, share information and resources and help people with disabilities connect with their broader communities.

Below are just a few highlights from our new virtual service models:

Virtual Dance Therapy in Delaware, North Carolina, Utah and Virginia

Virtual Dance Therapy is our new initiative to connect with the people we serve in our Long-Term Community Integration Services (LTCIS) programs in Delaware, North Carolina, Utah and Virginia. We are so pleased to partner on this initiative with Martha Krabill, Owner and Artistic Director of 5-6-7-8 Dance, LLC. Martha has provided dance therapy to our LTCIS programs in Virginia for 11 years. We are thrilled to expand this program to all our LTCIS locations across ServiceSource.

As part of the initiative, 5-6-7-8 Dance, LLC is hosting virtual dance and movement therapy sessions online. To date, more than 280 people with disabilities, family members, caregivers and staff in four states have connected virtually to take part in these classes. “Although virtual, these activities help build confidence and relieve stress, which is very needed right now. We go into this field to empower people with disabilities, and we cannot let this pandemic stop us from doing that” said Melissa Mazzocco, Director, LTCIS. Watch the video below or visit our YouTube Page (@ServiceSourceOnline) to see a few highlights from our first two classes.

Virtual Activities for Active & Older Adults in Virginia

In partnership with Fairfax County’s Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS), ServiceSource Virginia’s Senior Services team launched virtual activities for active and older adults. The team is facilitating discussion groups, exercise classes, trivia, and other activities to ease social isolation among older adults during this public health crisis. During the week of May 11, we hosted 25 classes for more than 520 people.

The team’s response was also recently highlighted in ADvancing States best practices report for aging adults. ADvancing States represents the nation’s 56 state and territorial agencies on aging and disabilities and long-term services and supports directors. To read the full report from ADvancing States, click here. To see the activity calendar from the virtual center for active adults, click here.

man sitting at table in front of deskVocational Rehabilitation in Florida

During the height of the pandemic, the State of Florida closed Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) offices to the public and more than 145 ServiceSource VR staff from 16 offices throughout the State provided services virtually, like their State counterparts. “The Florida Department of VR has been an amazing support for us through this process,” says Tina Herzik, Vice President of Operations, VR. She continues, “I’m very proud to lead this amazing staff of people who came together to work as a great team during this difficult time.”

ServiceSource has partnered with the State of Florida’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation for more than 17 years to support people with disabilities in multiple counties throughout the State. ServiceSource is proud to be the only private provider of VR services in the nation. Our staff is hired within this contract to assist people with disabilities ages 14+ to find and maintain employment and enhance their independence through services to include vocational evaluations, job readiness training, self-advocacy, and placement assistance.

woman looking at camera with computer at deskVirtual Employment Workshops for Students in Delaware

The FrameWORK for Success staff in Delaware created virtual lesson plans students can access from home. FrameWORK for Success is a school-to-career transition program for high school students with a disability. The program is operated by ServiceSource with the support of the New Castle County Vo-Tech and Brandywine School districts. The virtual lesson plans staff redesigned cover topics related to soft skills, life skills, money sense and employability. Rich Katz, Program Manager says, “We want to provide students with a chance to learn, laugh, and practice a routine that helps maintain healthy, productive habits while social distancing at home.”

In addition, ServiceSource Delaware redesigned our Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to a virtual model when the State announced students would finish the remainder of the school year remotely. With support from the Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), we will provide six weeks of virtual work experience to include weekly group sessions and individualized support. Participants enrolled in the Pre-ETS program in Delaware must be between the ages of 16-21, have a documented disability, live in the State and enrolled in school.

back of man's head looking at computer with Zoom meeting openVirtual Check-Ins with Participants in North Carolina

This month, ServiceSource North Carolina kicked-off virtual service delivery to Friendship House Fayetteville (FHF) residents and Community Inclusion Day Program participants. Nathan Williams, Program Manager is utilizing Zoom to meet with groups weekly to share information, provide resources and answer questions. During these meetings, participants are also able to discuss how this pandemic is impacting each of them individually and focus on topics such as self-care, positive thinking and goal setting.

man with mask on holding a sign that says be happy and healthyConnecting to Participants in Utah

As we implement these new virtual models, we understand the overwhelming importance and need to continue offering support to those we serve, while ensuring their health and safety and maintaining important government guidelines. PARC, ServiceSource Utah affiliate threw a socially distant parade outside the regional office in Clearfield, UT. When asked what inspired them to host such an event, “we really want our participants to know they are not alone in this, we miss them,” said Kim Evans, Public Relations and Marketing.

Support from The ServiceSource Foundation

As we focus on providing positive experiences and support activities to the people we serve, not all participants have access to the technology needed for these virtual opportunities. To break down these barriers, we implemented a technology grant program funded by The ServiceSource Foundation. Through this program, The ServiceSource Foundation will purchase a tablet for individuals who do not have the technology needed to access virtual programming and supports. Our goal is to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness and maintain the continuity of care and connection.

Although we can’t come together physically right now, we’ve shown we can come together in so many other ways. We recognize the efforts of all of our teams who are providing virtual services and support to participants during this time, wherever they may be. We thank our employees, participants, donors, and families who are staying positive during this hard time – we will use our ingenuity, innovation, and creativity to stay connected!

If you would like to support ServiceSource programs and our virtual platforms, please consider making a donation by visiting servicesource.org/get-involved/giving/. You can also connect with us for additional stories on our virtual service delivery methods and community impact by signing up for our Monthly Newsletter or following us on social media!

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