Wow. What a year. For everyone, it has been transitional.

What started off as a concern we needed to keep an eye on, turned into a full-blown global catastrophe that changed everything seemingly overnight. The COVID-19 pandemic is and will continue to be the number one topic on everyone’s mind for months to come. While several vaccines are starting to make their way around the world we still have much to be concerned about, and much to be thankful for.

Many of the people who we support are seniors with multiple health concerns, so our diligence in preventing the spread at DDA meant making life and death decisions. We had to quickly change the way we did things. Luckily, we purchased supplies of PPE once we heard the virus had spread in China but could not have predicted the inability of the world’s nations to shut it down.

The creativity, selflessness, and dedication of all our staff got us through. One group home caught COVID during the earliest days, one employee and his wife both required hospitalization but everyone has been safe ever since. Everyone looks forward to dropping the PPE.

There is much to be said for human ingenuity when times are tough. Local businesses, like Parallel 49 Brewing, created hand sanitizer instead of beer and donated it to our group homes and child development centres to help keep us clean. Other donations of PPE flowed in from several DDA supporters and contacts.

Through all of that, keeping life for our residents as normal as possible was a challenge. People with developmental disabilities don’t always understand why change is necessary, and when a routine is disrupted it can have deeper emotional effects. Zoom became our go-to…and for every other organization around the world for that matter!

Our managers kept everyone active and entertained by holding get-togethers and parties online. Our Fostering Early Development program kept caregivers informed and supported via Zoom, offering more one-to-one time and more convenience for families. Many of our programs simply went outdoors when possible. DDA’s other services, Starworks and Jobs West had a very good year keeping clients and staff happy, healthy, and informed.

The pandemic has transformed many organizations and how they operate. Working from home has become the new normal for millions of employees around the world. DDA was not immune to that so we re-invented how we operate. Our IT team jumped to the task and ensured anyone who could work from home was able to do so. It didn’t feel like we missed a beat.

DDA’s Annual General Meeting felt different this year as well. A hall with just a handful of people, a Zoom meeting full of Board Members voting at a digital distance. Such is the new way of running the show.

Out with the old, in with the new.

DDA’s head office will start the New Year with new paint, new offices and meeting rooms, particularly in the Accounting area. A lot has changed in the last two months and we are looking forward to a new start for 2021.

Support = Support

We felt supported through our COVID ordeal by community health professionals, businesses, political reps, city governments, and many individuals – when you support us, we can support others!  This year, our staff delivered food and necessities to the families and individuals we support who couldn’t get out on their own during the quarantine. When times are tough, we can count on our people to go the extra mile.

It goes without saying we have all been through a lot this year. Sadly, the fight is not over. We enter 2021 with a bit of hope that the pandemic will be subdued by the summer, if not earlier, and life can start to feel a little more normal. For the most part, everyone around the world has been doing their part to show caring, understanding, and empathy towards their fellow human beings. When this virus is a thing of the past, let’s hope that this new level of compassion remains.

Happy New Year from DDA!

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