At Nonotuck we often ask the question – what does home mean to you? Although every person has a different answer, the common themes of love, community, safety and belonging are always present. As we close this year, during which many of us have spent more times in our homes than ever, I am reflecting on the resilience of our community, and our ability to keep the hearts and homes of Nonotuck strong even though we have been apart.
As an organization and as a community, Nonotuck, our employees, the people we serve, and their families and caregivers all faced extraordinary challenges in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed daily life for each one of us. Employees continue to work from home as they juggle caring for their own families. Shared living and AFC households have had to limit visitors, and as day services were curtailed, home became the hub for all activities.
Despite those challenges, the Nonotuck community was able stay connected and seamlessly continue our services. The people we serve showed creativity, strength, and humor as they adjusted to the changes. Caregivers quickly adapted to a new normal, helping the people they serve thrive despite the radical change in circumstances. Employees at every level worked hard to support each other and keep operations flowing smoothly throughout the year. With an emphasis on family and the valued role of caregiving, Nonotuck’s managers checked in regularly to make sure employees were coping well with the year’s added stressors — such as children learning from home or the effects of prolonged isolation — and to offer support.
Nonotuck’s devotion to the values of family and caregiving were recognized this fall when the organization was named a “Top Place to Work” for 2020 by the Boston Globe. We’re honored that our commitment was recognized by so many and know it would not have been possible without the dedication of our employees.
Working remotely has brought our colleagues into our homes, seeing each other at our most vulnerable. AFC and Shared Living home visits, which traditionally meant a Nonotuck team member visiting the homes of the people we serve, have continued safely from our homes as well. We have problem solved, laughed, grieved, and celebrated together, all from our homes. Somehow, despite all the challenges we faced as a community this year, we found new ways to open our hearts and open our homes.
As we head into 2021, we wish you and yours a happy and healthy new year, filled with love, community, safety, and belonging. Thank all of you for you do to make Nonotuck home.
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.