Special to The Tally Wire | Photo: WAVE, Inc.
Widening Adult Vital Experiences, Inc. (WAVE) has announced its Sunshine Bag campaign in an effort to reach out to our friends in the special needs community. The campaign aims to distribute goodie bags with games and activities for folks to use during this time of social distancing. The Sunshine Bags include a stress ball, a deck of playing cards, a mini activity pad, a design-it-yourself puzzle, and a mini domino game set.
WAVE is a local nonprofit organization founded in 2002 serving adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through various programs such as the Life Skills Day Program, Music from the Heart Choral program, Dance Workshops, and monthly social enrichment activities.
“It can be quite challenging for some of our friends to have their daily routines turned upside down and not be with their friends in activities and day programs,” shared Terri Sue Aldridge Lawson, WAVE’s Executive Director. “We hope that with our Sunshine Bags, we are able to bring a few rays of sunshine into their day, provide some easy activities to help keep them engaged, and to show them how much they are loved. We want our friends to know that they are our sunshine.”
The campaign idea came from a check-in between Ms. Aldridge Lawson and one of her board members. “I have been reaching out to our board members asking how they are doing when during a text conversation with John Falls, one of our board members, he shared that some of our friends have found this time to be challenging. We chatted about what the needs were and what WAVE could do to help during this pandemic. I threw out the idea of the sunshine bags and John was quite excited about it. From there, things started coming together for us to make it happen.”
Life has changed tremendously due to COVID-19, which means a shift in how organizations operate. Despite the daily changes and shifts, WAVE is still open and providing services to the community. “Naturally we have seen a drop in our Life Skills program participants being able to attend in person. When we saw that happening, we shifted and moved our day program to an online platform through Zoom. Is it the same as our face to face Life Skills Day Program? Absolutely not! And it can be frustrating and disheartening to hear how quiet our office now is, but we are committed to serving our community. Online program delivery is different, with its own set of unique challenges, but we will continue moving forward in order to help keep our community connected and engaged.”
Not only has WAVE moved their day program online, but their Dance Workshops, a new component of their Social Enrichment Activities (SEA) Program, have also transitioned to the new medium. “We are excited to see how our online dance workshops come together. If there were ever a time for something positive, with physical movement, and simply fun, it is now.”
Friends in the special needs community can pick up a Sunshine Bag on Friday, April 3, 2020, from 12:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m. at WAVE’s office, located at 820 E. Park Avenue, Building I-100. Delivery will be curbside with WAVE staff bringing the bags to the cars to keep within CDC guidelines of people congregating. For more information regarding WAVE’s Sunshine Bag campaign or their other programs, contact Terri Sue at email@example.com or 850-597-7904.