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Making a Difference During a Pandemic

Every day at Nonotuck, we see the difference individuals can make — for other people, for organizations like ours and for their communities as a whole. 

Make a Difference Day, launched in 1992, was created to celebrate the power of individuals to make a difference. It’s a day dedicated to community service, encouraging people from all walks of life to find ways to improve the world through volunteerism. 

Created by USA Weekend and the non-profit Points of Light, Make a Difference Day occurs each year on the fourth Friday in October. This year, that’s October 24. 

Nonotuck-Images-20190128-CamA08-large.jpgWe can not let Make a Difference Day go by without recognizing the difference that our staff and caregivers make every day in the lives of the people we serve and in our communities. Especially during these challenging times, Nonotuck team members have gone above and beyond to ensure the safety and well-being of the people we serve during this pandemic. Everyone at Nonotuck, from our care managers, caregivers and direct support professionals, to our clinicians, nurses and administrative teams, play a role in our mission of providing people with disabilities a choice, a voice and the opportunity to live authentic lives.

If you are feeling inspired to make a difference in your community, there are many ways you can get involved! With a pandemic changing the way we live, work and socialize, volunteering is a little more challenging this year. But there are still ways you can help. If you’re doing a project with others, this may mean wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance. But there are also opportunities to volunteer virtually. Here are a few ideas for how you can make a difference from home:

Donate to Nonotuck’s Gift Giving Fund: 100% of your generous donation goes directly to the people that Nonotuck serves, supports, and advocates for. Past donations to the Gift Giving Fund have paid for adaptive equipment for people’s homes, vacations, computers and tablets, unexpected medical expenses, and much more. Funds have also gone towards supporting the families of those served with life’s hardships such as funerals and relocation.  

Help people in need: The pandemic has put lots of families in a financial bind. Local non-profit organizations help families in need by distributing food and clothing. You can either donate items or fundraise for organizations virtually through an online platform like GoFundMe or Facebook fundraising.

Help an animal shelter: Many shelters and charities for animals need old towels and blankets. Check with your local shelter to see what they need, then clean worn-out items from your linen closet. 

Help the environment: There are lots of changes you can make at home that are good for the environment. You can make reusable bags from old t-shirts, for instance, or learn how to compost your kitchen scraps.

Help a non-profit: If you have skills that could help a non-profit improve their operations — such as management consulting, strategic planning, or mentoring — you can offer your services via a virtual platform like Zoom or FaceTime. The Taproot Foundation can help connect you with organizations in need. 

Help a park: Local trails and parks often need a little TLC from volunteers. Get some gloves and a garbage bag and you’re ready to go! 

Write letters: Letters can serve many purposes. You can write to soldiers or healthcare workers to provide encouraging words. Or you can write to elected officials to advocate for a cause near and dear to your heart. 

You can learn more about volunteer opportunities during a pandemic at the Points of Light website.

“(Through shared living) people with a disability experience a real transformation and discover confidence in themselves; they discover their capacity to make choices, and also find a certain liberty and above all their dignity as human beings.”

—Jean Vanier

Caregiving with Love:
Guide for Shared Living Providers

Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.

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