On June 15, The Women’s Center began our workplace recovery plan post-Safer at Home order. To figure out the most effective and safest way to offer programming in this new social environment, we decided to return in phases, carefully and thoughtfully, to minimize everyone’s exposure to COVID-19 without compromising our commitment to our clients. Details about Phase 1, projected to run through July 31, are available on our website homepage: www.twcwaukesha.org.
In reflection on the past three months, we are proud of what we were able to accomplish when advocates were working remotely. Our community-based clients could not come to us, so we went to them in the form of tele-advocacy, virtual programming, podcasts, blogs, and videos – all activities we intend to maintain to complement our standard programming.
When the Safer at Home order was announced, we quickly developed a plan for how we would operate – all advocates and staff worked remotely except myself, three directors, and all shelter advocates. To facilitate this, we had to get advocates phones dedicated for use with clients, figure out computers and file access, and for many decisions, we had to create a new policy that documents the rationale and expectations. We procured microphones, cameras, and laptops for our remote staff, and found gloves, masks, gowns, sanitizer, food, and other supplies to keep onsite, amidst great shortages everywhere. For our funders, we had to submit additional reports on how we were responding to COVID-19.
Perhaps the easiest way to describe all of that whirlwind, is HARD. It was HARD to make programming decisions that could limit our accessibility and further harm someone or put them in greater danger of abuse, during a global pandemic no less. BUT, thanks to a profoundly committed team, we all made it through. We kept people safe. We fed them. We provided emotional support. We gave them resources. We gave them shelter. For some, we were their only “constant,” so we made darn sure that they wouldn’t feel abandoned by us.
Now, as we all continue to transition to life with many new “normals,” and despite the challenges COVID-19 has presented and the hardships surrounding this, rest assured, The Women’s Center will never falter from what we do best – lead with compassion, problem solve around barriers to keep clients feeling safe and supported, garner resources for clients as they encounter new forms of abuse and new traumas, and swiftly respond with new safety precautions and measures. And we will keep adapting and adjusting to whatever is thrown at us.
No matter what, survivors of domestic and sexual violence will receive safety, shelter, and support at The Women’s Center, always.