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STAYING CONNECTED ACROSS THE DIGITAL DIVIDE By Mia Cooper

I N PA RT N E R S H I P W I T H

CITY OF DURHAM | COUNTY OF DURHAM | DUKE UNIVERSITY | DUKE UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM | DURHAM CAN | DURHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS DURHAM CONGREGATIONS IN ACTION | GREATER DURHAM CHAMBER OF COMMERCE | INTERDENOMINATIONAL MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE LINCOLN COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER | PROJECT ACCESS OF DURHAM COUNTY | PARTNERSHIP FOR A HEALTHY DURHAM TRIANGLE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION | THE INSTITUTE

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and political climate.” In response, FCD found innovative ways to continue providing resources that families may need through contactless drop-offs. These resource packages include a range of items, with help from other organizations like Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Book Harvest. “We’ll provide things like diapers, baby wipes and other essentials along with additional items like hand sanitizer, thermometers and masks,” Caitlin says. FAMILY CONNECTS DURHAM FCD works diligently to stay connected with the families This organization continues to support families by they serve in the community, but teleconferencing fatigue transforming its in-home nurse visitation model into virtual is real, and nothing seems to experiences. Check-ins with compare to the quality time that parents and their newborns are was spent face-to-face with each now conducted through video family. Home visitors are now on chat or by phone. “We used to calls and staring at screens six to go in-person and visit families eight hours a day. “We’ve even in the hospital … but now we’ve started holding virtual weekly had to switch to virtual visits,” self-care groups just to check in says FCD Community Alignment on one another and parents,” Specialist Caitlin Georgas. FCD Karen says. “It’s definitely a has also gone virtual with its different experience … we miss early childhood developmental our families very much.” activities. “Pre-coronavirus, our Eugenya Rodriguez and Anna Pabón practice how to keep kids engaged during virtual Durham Early Head Start home visits. home visitors were able to bring toys, games and other activities SISTERS NETWORK TRIANGLE NC to each household to help families reach their personal Dedicated to improving breast cancer outcomes in African developmental milestones and goals,” says FCD Coordinator American women, Sisters Network Triangle NC refuses to Karen Carmody. “Now our virtual home visits consist of let the pandemic steal its shine. Faced with the challenge of helping families find things they can use in their homes to connecting new members with other survivors to maintain recreate these activities.” support, SNTNC began using a video conferencing platform. The pandemic leads to many other obstacles for families, Monthly group meetings that used to be separate to including financial instability and the increased need for accommodate both the Raleigh and Durham locations are emotional support. “We see families, particularly parents, now conveniently combined through Zoom conversations. who may be experiencing depression or anxiety,” Karen says. “Throughout the first month of transitioning to events “Imagine being a first-time parent living through the COVID-19 pandemic while also being overwhelmed by the current social virtually, it was a great result,” says Valarie Worthy, SNTNC’s he value of everyday social interactions that existed pre-pandemic are missed today. Yet nonprofits like Family Connects Durham, Sisters Network Triangle NC and Diaper Bank of North Carolina are finding creative ways to continue helping and connecting with the community across the digital divide.

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Durham Magazine Oct/Nov 2020  

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