At Treetops Collective, the season we are in as a global community is an opportunity for remembering how truly connected we all are. Many of us are not personally impacted or would recover quickly from COVID-19, yet our care for others means we make changes that help keep those with higher risk factors safe and support our neighbors who work in healthcare from being overwhelmed so they can care well for those who are sick.
Navigating the effects of a situation that is out of our control feels unprecedented to many of us in West Michigan and can be scary. This is also an opportunity to build empathy for those to whom this type of situation is not new, whose lives have long been affected by circumstances out of their control. Our neighbors with refugee or asylee status were forced to flee home because of circumstances out of their control, and they did so to protect their families. May we reflect on that reality as we take responsibility for our connectedness within community, as we consider how to spend time at home, and as we reach out to help each other.
As an organization we are acting with responsibility and empathy in the following ways:
- Our Sister Circles workshop for teen girls set for March 27 is rescheduled for April 24.
- We are temporarily pausing in-home visits and cross-cultural partnership matches, and instead, checking in on program members via phone calls, texts, and assisting in any ways we can. Stay tuned to hear how you can help!
- We are asking and listening to program members about ways we can support them during work and school closures.
- We are still having Volunteer Info Sessions and Cross-Cultural Partner Training, but they will be digital on Google Hangout. If you signed up for a session, you will get an email with instructions.
- Our team members have the option to work from home as they choose and anyone who shows symptoms, had contact with an affected individual, or traveled to a high-risk area will be working from home.
- Our office is periodically open based on the schedules of team members who are still working in the office, and we will be disinfecting the space every day.
- Our retail hours are closed for at least this week–instead, you can shop online!
- All meetings will be accessible remotely for those who choose to remain off-site and some meetings may be made entirely remote.
- Our team has been reminded to follow all guidelines around cleanliness and hand washing, and hand sanitizer is being made available.
We will continue to communicate as we respond in this season.
In an age of loneliness, measures that require us to be further isolated mean we need to be even more deeply rooted in our commitment to building a welcoming community.
Meditate on what it means to be welcoming to our newest neighbors who are once again navigating circumstances out of their control, take a minute to call a neighbor and check on them, drop off food to the family down the street whose children are out of school, talk to your children about the experiences of families who have sought refugee or asylee status, buy gift cards online from local businesses, and give to an organization that is serving those most affected in our communities.