The Arc of Madison Cortland is a local non-profit that provides instruction and support for people with developmental disabilities.
The past few months haven’t been easy as some programming has been altered to create a safe, productive environment for participants at the Oneida facility. However, the pandemic has added additional responsibilities for facilitators.
It’s very rare to find Stacey Burleson standing still throughout the course of her day. Burleson, 30, is a program supervisor for "Main Street Day Hab," a daily program that works with adults with developmental disabilities in Oneida.
“They’re engaging, they have goals so we’re working with different things with them whether it’s budgeting money wise or reading or writing,” said Arc of Madison Cortland Day Hab Program Supervisor Stacey Burleson.
The pandemic has made teaching in this environment much more of a challenge. Some participants, like Jessica, are taking in class activities from home as a safety precaution.
In order to keep her involved you may find Stacey hustling around with a laptop so everyone knows Jess is there.
“This is a way where Jess can still engage with us and we can all see her and she can still see all her friends and its almost as if she’s here, just on a computer,” said Burleson.
On most days this group of between 10 to 15 adults can be found enjoying several activities. Dancing, games, or crafting are pretty common.
“We’re painting. What are we making? We’re making snowflakes,” said one program participant.
Although it’s a fun environment, facilitators are much busier conducting the programs these days. Every day starts out with a COVID-19 review to ensure participants are using good hygiene and social distancing.
“Getting used to wearing the masks which is why we go over COVID review every morning. Just a review of going over just what we’re expected to do while we’re at morning program,” said Burleson.
While programs like day hab are so valued there is anticipation for the day instruction without COVID-19 regulations can resume.
“We’re all going to have a big party that day. You know, like a big graduation where we’ll be able to throw our masks up. To be able to have your touch with your friends and stuff, to be able to do a high five, something as simple as that can be very important here,” Burleson said.
Important for us all so we can continue the activities that mean the most to us in our everyday lives. The Arc of Madison Cortland has launched a COVID Cares campaign to help fund many of its programs.
The pandemic forced the cancellation of the Arcs annual Fall Festival. If you'd like to consider making a donation you can visit their website.