Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), all OFC staff are working remotely.

Coronavirus Plan

Our Family Coalition

 

Care & Caution During Coronavirus

On this page:

Resources elsewhere:

Support for families with kids home from school during this shelter-in-place period:


 

Love in the Time of Corona

March 17, 2020

These are exceptional times. And we need to make an exceptional ask.

Nearly two weeks ago, OFC became one of the first nonprofits in the Bay Area to undertake dramatic and immediate changes to much of our direct services work in response to COVID-19. Changes that we believed, and now know, demonstrated the greatest care and commitment to our community’s health, as well as our solidarity with those at greatest risk – those whose lives are already likely to be devalued.

When we made the decision to temporarily suspend in-person support programming, it was a difficult and sometimes even lonely one. But every passing hour confirms that it was the right one.

At the same time, we knew even before yesterday’s order to shelter in place that isolation is not an option; that community connection and emotional support is as essential to our health as minimizing exposure and spread. For two weeks, our staff has been working around the clock – building a remote support system from the ground up in just four days and planning over a dozen virtual programs in March alone.

For as long as it’s needed, our community will have the ability to call in or get on a video chat, to connect with others facing childcare shortages, trying to build families, or facing the unique needs of raising infants and toddlers, or little kids, or even tweens and teens. We’re also hosting several community forums: listening sessions in which we can all just share what we want and need from each other – and what we can give. Wherever we can, we’re transforming in-person informational workshops into virtual ones, and fast-tracking an online forum in which our community can continue to connect ’round the clock. And not only are we serving our community, other direct services organizations are using the system OFC has created to serve theirs. Now, more than ever, we are all in this together.

Care isn’t just what we do; love is who we are. For generations, LGBTQ people have supported one another through the most challenging times. And now we need your support. We here at OFC are proud that we were among the first to put our community’s health and well-being first. But stepping up this much, this fast, has taken significant resources at a moment when nonprofits are facing unprecedented uncertainty.

We simply cannot continue to meet this surge in need without a surge of support. We need help. If you are able, we need you to make a donation in an amount that is significant to you.

The work of community care may be more important today than it has ever been in history. The dramatic changes we’re facing as a community, a nation, and a planet can feel like they’re pushing people apart, but OFC is here on the front lines doing what we do best: bringing people together. We know better than anyone what it means not only to build family but to expand its reach. Together, we can transform this moment of unforeseeable isolation into an opportunity for unimaginable community care.

Today, we are all family.

 


 

What Events We're Holding Virtually (& How)

March 9, 2020

Beginning this week we're transitioning as much programming as is practicable over to "virtual" service delivery, through the end of March.

What this means in real terms is that we're going to offer as many support groups and informational workshops as we can using Google Hangouts – either as a phone line, or as a video conference.

So long as it's not noted as "cancelled" or "postponed" on our website's calendar, just register for an event the way you always would via the event's registration page, and we'll send you the necessary phone and video access info.

Concerned about privacy? So are we! We've upgraded our Google Hangout video and audio conferencing lines to ensure they are HIPAA-compliant and preserve the security and confidentiality of all our participants to the highest standards possible. [Further information about G Suite HIPAA Compliance here.]

Most of the playgroup and community activities don't transfer to a virtual format, but we're ramping up another means for folks to connect beyond a phone or video conference, and will be rolling that out soon.

Meanwhile, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network has pulled together a resource, Parent/ Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (in English, Spanish, & Chinese), to help parents and caregivers. It includes recommendations regarding not just what you should know about how the virus is transmitted or appears in symptoms, or practical ways to improve your family's and household's readiness, but – perhaps most important, and most overlooked – ways to manage the stress of misinformation, super-saturation of alarming messaging, and/or isolation on your children. Sound advice of help for young and old alike.


 

Care and Caution During Coronavirus: Why OFC is Temporarily Going Virtual

statement by Sam Ames, Esq., JD, MTS
Interim Executive Director
on behalf of the OFC Board of Directors & Leadership

March 5, 2020


The first cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States not traceable to recent travel have been confirmed, and the Bay Area is emerging as one of the most affected regions. Many news outlets have been using the word “pandemic” to refer to the virus. It is important to remember that this word is about spread, not severity, and has already been used as a scare tactic targeting people of color – especially immigrants and those from Asian Pacific Islander communities – for xenophobic attacks and discrimination.

While COVID-19 is not yet a pandemic, it could become one soon. Vulnerable populations include those over 50, those over 80, and those with preexisting respiratory illnesses or compromised immune systems – all of whom are part of the OFC community. It is important that we protect ourselves and one another during this time and during all moments of increased risk to our community, including flu season.

We have been monitoring the situation closely and following all recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and local departments of public health. While all schools and nonprofits serving children and families are taking sanitation and contact precautions, additional measures are beginning to include closing schools, instructing employees to work from home if possible, and asking those who do need to leave the house to remain six feet from others. OFC’s office and services are unique in several ways, including the fact that we draw participants from several counties across the Bay Area, serve many multigenerational families, are members of a community with higher rates of compromised immune systems, and count among our participants many parents who may face rising shortages of childcare in the weeks to come.

In an abundance of caution and care for our community, the board and leadership of OFC have decided to follow the lead of other Bay Area nonprofits, schools, and companies and temporarily suspend in-person programs, transitioning to virtual programming for the next two weeks wherever possible.

We are building systems as we speak that will enable us to offer support, connection, and community by video and phone whenever possible. During a time when we may all begin to experience increased feelings of stress and isolation, we know how important it is that we retain connections with our community.

It is our job now to remain calm and to be mindful of the difference between caution and fear. These measures are primarily about slowing and reducing the spread of the virus so our health systems have enough time to handle cases as they do appear. OFC is taking these precautions in an effort to resume our programming as soon as possible, rather than run the risk that someone who attends one of our events grows ill or that we are required to suspend in-person programming any longer than absolutely necessary. This community means everything to us.

The OFC offices will be open at intermittent hours for the next two weeks while our staff is encouraged to work from home. You will be able to find more information on our website as we are able to update it, but in the meantime you can stay up-to-date with local virus responses using the links above.

We will be updating information here over the next two weeks as changes develop and we know more about when normal operations will resume.

Look here too in the coming days for information on details of the virtual alternatives we will be offering. Meanwhile, please address any questions, concerns, or suggestions to us at info@ourfamily.org.


 

 

 

 

 

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