We’d been rehearsing for this moment for weeks. Then early Thursday, as the first adult client came through St. Ann Center’s front door in her wheelchair…it was show time!
June 11 marked the return of adult clients to both St. Ann Center campuses. A steady stream of familiar faces arrived and were warmly welcomed as their temperatures and oxygen levels were taken.
“Dragana!” called out Maggie Cary, a longtime volunteer, when she saw the Stein Campus’ first arrival. She’s known Dragana, who has cerebral palsy, for 11 years, and the two have a special bond. “I’ve missed you,” she cooed. Judging by the smile on Dragana’s face, the feeling is mutual.
Next in line was Debbie, followed by her father, Richard. “I want to see everybody,” she said as she hurried to her unit. Her dad’s take on St. Ann Center’s reopening, “It’s good for her and us,” he said. “She’s been a little bored at home.”
John, a longtime client, has literally been counting the days until his return. “It feels great coming back after 12 weeks,” he said. “I’ve been quarantining, washing my hands and wearing a mask. I’m all set!”
Larry from Senior Wellness was met at the door by one of St. Ann Center’s comfort dogs. “I remember you!” he said, bending down to give tiny “Spike” a gentle pat.
Back in the young adult unit, the question of the day was, “What did you do during your COVID vacation?” Jennel said she was tired of sitting at home all day and happy to be able to talk with her friends again. Gabe said he and his mother put on an impromptu music festival in their backyard, “since all the other festivals are cancelled.”
During the temporary closure, volunteer Maggie made a point of calling adult clients to maintain a connection. “It feels so good to be able to see them in person again,” she said.
One of Maggie’s daily volunteer duties is feeding Dragana. This loving lunchtime routine will be different now, with Maggie needing to don personal protective equipment. “I’ve taken all the training on what to put on in what order,” she said smiling. “I’m ready!”