The Heart of Our Communities
In a press conference Governor Lamont on April 29, 2020 urged local governments and community partners to establish long-term recovery committees. He said, “Responding to a disaster is a shared responsibility that calls for the involvement of everyone – state government, local government, and a wide range of community partners. By working together, we can continue to improve the way we support our residents and our communities as they meet urgent needs and bounce back from the COVID-19 crisis. I am grateful to them all.”
Our local partners across the state have played integral roles in ensuring that children and families in their communities are cared for and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our partners have distributed food, collected funds for basic human needs, assisted child care providers who are open in securing the supplies necessary to stay COVID-safe, provided professional development opportunities to child care professional, assisted school districts in kindergarten registration processes, provided online parenting programs, as well as social-emotional opportunities to children, and mental health resources to parents and families. Our partners know their communities and should be included in any long-term, recovery planning committees. They get things done!
Enfield’s KITE (Key Initiatives to Early Education) has started a campaign to collect money for local food pantries. The COVID-19 pandemic has left so many families in need of food that there has been a shortage. Recognizing this need, they conceptualized and then put into action “One Community,” asking their community to donate funds to help local food banks fill the increased need they have been experiencing. Chris Gomeau, KITE’s Coordinator was interviewed by NBC 30 about the initiative. The link to watch can be found here.
Kristine Cicchetti, Director of the Northeast Early Childhood Council (NECC), which represents Brooklyn, Killingly, Plainfield, Putnam, Sterling, and Thompson recently spoke on a local radio program about online parenting classes that are available to parents for the remainder of the year. She also spoke of a parent survey that was being utilized to learn about the hopes and needs that families have in their region, by sponsoring this survey, NECC will have a much better understanding of how they can better serve their communities. The link to listen to the interview can be found here.
These are just two examples of the great work being done by our partners, there are so many more! It boils down to relationships. Our partners know their families! They have helped them get needed resources, talked to them during happy and challenging times—they have laughed and cried with them. The families they serve trust them. And that is what is needed in beginning to re-build after COVID-19—trusting relationships and a knowledge of families and their needs. We are so grateful that Governor Lamont recognizes this. We know that our incredible partners will remain ready and willing to help in this unprecedented effort in any way that they can.