Below is the third entry in our blog series on how Triangle programs are modifying programs for individuals with disabilities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud to continue meeting our mission and have established Triangle, Inc.’s Fund for Ability that will help guarantee the continuation of our services now and into the future.
When Triangle leadership made the difficult decision to suspend in-person day programming in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we knew that we would need to continue to serve our program participants in any way possible. Since Triangle primarily utilizes a community-based model, the shift online was a significant one. However, our staff members worked diligently and swiftly and were able to move their curriculum to a virtual format within about a week’s time. With video conferencing software in hand, it was just a matter of helping staff members and program participants and their families gain access to the technology and learn how to use it.
We are now offering virtual services and trainings that mirror our face-to-face day programming curriculum. These sessions cover a variety of topics, including learning social skills, financial responsibility, independence, a healthy diet, and building self-esteem. Due to the nature of the pandemic, we have increased the number of training sessions devoted to reviewing good hygiene skills, universal precautions, and healthy coping skills. Additionally, we are working with one of Triangle’s resident nurses to bring more health-based virtual learning sessions to our program participants. There are also virtual exercise classes such as zumba and yoga to keep everyone healthy and active while quarantining, and we are currently working with EPIC to provide a weekly self-advocacy training to program participants.
Since employment is one of Triangle’s core focuses, we continue to provide virtual trainings on employment skill-building. We are holding virtual employment-based sessions at least twice a week, including job clubs and employment training. Our Salem and Randolph sites will be holding virtual employment workshops next week, focusing on vocational assessments, resume and cover letter building, dressing for success, and developing strong interview skills. Staff members will also be conducting virtual mock interviews to help participants practice the skills they are learning.
This is a difficult and challenging time for everyone, including individuals with disabilities. It is crucial that Triangle continues to offer these services to our program participants, many of whom may feel isolated or bored being stuck inside at home or in a residence. Triangle’s daily virtual programming is cultivating a sense of community and maintaining a sense of structure and purpose for our participants, who are able to see their friends, peers, and staff. For many, this has been an uplifting and joyful experience. By continuing to build their skills, program participants are far less likely to lose the progress that has been made in recent months. Additionally, staff members, who care deeply for our participants, have been able to make sure they are safe and healthy, which has boosted morale.
The individuals who participate in Triangle’s virtual trainings have done a great job making the change, and look forward to having the chance to connect with each other and learn in a structured environment every day. They are taking advantage of the opportunity to learn the new skill of remote learning, just as our staff members are learning this skill. Our community is
in this together, learning together and supporting each other. Triangle’s online programing is making a positive difference in the lives of both our program participants and staff members!