My first six months as Executive Director at Holly Ridge Center have been full of challenges and opportunities. The obvious challenges were taking our very interactive teams from an onsite environment with access to daily collaboration to working from home almost overnight! Tooling up our staff and gathering resources was the first big hurdle followed by learning about the needs for technology and internet access for the people we serve!

Fortunately, we have an incredibly flexible team of staff that are driven to succeed by their passion to continue serving our families and clients. It was not easy, but there was never a question of if – there was only figuring out how.

Right now, we are still working primarily out of our homes. Every month, we are serving over 400 children and their families and 60 adults with differing abilities.

We are able to support families with limited access to technology because of caring donors, a grant from The United Way Kitsap County Covid Relief Fund, tremendous support from our community through the Kitsap Great Give hosted by the Kitsap Community Foundation, and additional funding sources that allowed us to buy iPads and Wi-Fi hot spots to loan out to our families in need.

Many of our adult clients have lost their jobs and we are helping them keep their skills sharp and explore new opportunities.

Through the current challenges, we are finding new ways to work and to connect with the folks that we serve. Yes, the pandemic is affecting people with differing abilities in a disproportionate way. We are dedicated to mitigating that effect as much as we can and making sure that we continue to help our clients and families thrive! Support from the community has played an important role in enabling us to do this and we are so very grateful!