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Shawn

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Spring 2022

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Friend of MILESTONE,

Well, a year ago I wrote that I was ecstatic to say good night to 2020. Things eased up into 2021 and then “BOOM”, Omicron. We were hit hard with infection, both staff and the individuals we serve, but fortunately we came through unscathed. The individuals we serve are fully vaccinated, including the “booster’. We’re closing in on 85% of staff vaccinated; it’s been quite an effort to get to this level, but we continue making progress. We’re masking, social distancing and are slowly returning to day training, with the individuals served having the opportunity to see their friends after a lengthy hiatus. We aren’t using the phrase “returning to normalcy”, as we are cautious for the benefit of the individuals and staff, but we are hopeful. Parent and guardians visits are in full force, unless a home is under quarantine. So are hugs!

The pandemic has been compounded by the staffing crisis. We’ve been operating significantly below our full staffing level. Operating 24/7, 365 days a year, the challenge has been exhausting. However, I have witnessed a commitment from our Direct Care and Supervisory staff that is beyond description. Many staff are working 60 hours a week or more, sacrificing their own personal lives for the individuals we serve, covering hours that open positions cannot fill. My appreciation is beyond description. Our Human Resources team is recruiting non-stop, you’ve likely seen our television commercials and billboards throughout the community. We’re spending money recruiting like never before.

In the end, when you provide human services there is no down time. At the same time, we rely on the human spirit. Staff, supervisors, families and the support of the community. Having spent my entire life in Rockford, other than a couple years in the 90’s, I am continually amazed at the support from the community of MILESTONE and other social service agencies. Thank you!

Stay Safe. Stay Strong…and go outside, it’s spring!