While the coronavirus has effectively ceased operations for many sectors of industry, nonprofit agencies like The Chase Home in Portsmouth have potentially never been busier.
“We are taking every preventative measure possible right now to prevent any cases of COVID-19 both among our staff and our kids,” said Executive Director Meme Wheeler. “Our staff are literally working overtime right now to ensure we adhere and even exceed all CDC guidelines.”
Citing the need to hire additional relief staff in the event of a positive diagnosis for the coronavirus at The Chase Home–currently, there are none–Wheeler said the challenges currently faced by staff extend beyond the pragmatic.
“For the kids that live here, their families cannot visit them right now,” she said. “This is really tough on the kids.”
To address the anxiety experienced by many of the kids, Wheeler said they have instituted a rewards system to encourage positive behaviors.
“For instance, Laney & Lu is delivering smoothies for our kids today,” she said. “It’s an amazing gesture and one that reinforces for kids that they are part of this community. We are in this together and so thankful for everyone rallying around us and our kids.”
Regarding services provided by The Chase Home in the community, Wheeler said staff is using Skype and similar videoconferencing platforms to stay in close contact with families.
“Clinically, we cannot just stop providing services, so we are working strategically to stay in contact and offer support and guidance to families that really need that connection right now,” she said.
Founded in 1877, Chase Home in Portsmouth is one of the oldest nonprofits in New Hampshire, serving more than 140 at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. Some youth are served in the community while others live at Chase Home.
To learn more about The Chase Home, visit chasehome.org.