Let’s reflect back to February 2, 2020. Patrick Mahomes and our Kansas City Chiefs scored 21 points in the 4th quarter to secure their first Super Bowl win in 50 years. Man, life was great. 2020 was sure to be a year to remember in Kansas City!
Well, it’s definitely been a year to remember. This sneaky virus appeared shortly after the Super Bowl celebrations, and by mid-March COVID-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic. Kansas City and the rest of the world was thrown into quarantine. So many unknowns. So many questions. What does this mean? What do we do? How will this affect our kids? For the children and employees at KidsTLC, we tackle tough issues every day, but this unforeseen adversity laying before us was something the kids on our campus would call “next level.”
We quickly joined millions of others as we became known as “essential workers.” As the Director of Training and Safety at KidsTLC, I witnessed an incredible amount of compassion and innovation as our senior leadership team and staff created new ways we could deliver services to our clients with minimal disruption, knowing many children and their families depend on us every day. In addition, our community (that’s you) stepped up and provided donations and support that have been critical to help get us through the toughest times.
Our determined team at the Trellis Center, serving children with autism, decided that if our clients could not come to us, then we would take KidsTLC’s services to them. They turned our onsite day program into in-home therapeutic services in less than one week—masking up, visiting homes and continuing their work with children and families. Our outpatient services at the Lotus Clinics quickly transitioned to a telehealth option so that they could continue their life-changing therapies with children who struggle daily with behavioral health challenges.
In the midst of all of this, nearly 70 children have been living on KidsTLC’s campus receiving psychiatric care, the majority of whom have already experienced extreme trauma during their lifetime. Many of their favorite activities came to a halt, including community outings, family visits and volunteer activities. Luckily, KidsTLC is home to some of the most caring, compassionate staff and they have remained dedicated to show up for our kids, day after day. They have endured screening, testing, temperature checks and have worn masks throughout their 8-, 10-, and sometimes 16-hour work shifts. They have also stepped up to become some pretty amazing home school teachers—so amazing that we adopted their modified education program to continue through the summer!
Do you want to know what else is incredible? Despite all that has happened, KidsTLC has hired approximately 90 new staff members since March in anticipation of KidsTLC’s campus expansion to serve more children this fall. Each new-hire class has shown dedication to our mission and understands the meaning of becoming “essential workers.” They have worn masks, trained at 6-feet apart and brought their positive energy and passion from the training classroom to their respective departments.
I’ve worked in this field for 21 years and am fortunate to be a part of KidsTLC during this pandemic. I am proud of the people I work with and grateful that YOU are also a part of our healing community. Like our Kansas City Chiefs, we may sometimes feel like we are down 10 points in the third quarter, but when we all come together to work hard, have a no-quit attitude and great teamwork, we will always be victorious at the end. Thank you for being a part of our “team” at KidsTLC. We couldn’t do what we do without you!
Director of Training and Safety