Adapting to A New Normal at Harvard Home
Adapting to A New Normal at Harvard Home

Adapting to A New Normal at Harvard Home

From scavenger hunts to cookie decorating and all the backyard picnics in between, the ladies who live in DePaul’s Waynesboro group home, Harvard Home, are staying busy.

Life for these ladies looks a lot different these days, like many of our lives do during the COVID-19 pandemic. Harvard Home is adapting. The typical trips and vacations are on hold, doctors’ appointments and family visits are done virtually, and group home staff are limiting their exposure to the community. But the purpose of Harvard Home has not changed: provide a nurturing, supportive, and empowering environment for individuals with developmental disabilities.

“We are still caring for them and giving them independence, just in a different way,” said Rhonda Pryor, the manager of Harvard Home.

As the wave of COVID-19 continues to swell, Harvard Home staff are doing their best to keep the ladies informed but not overwhelmed.

“You have to focus on the things you can do, not the things you can’t,” said Rhonda.

The ladies are trying out new activities and spending more time backyard bonding and front porch sitting. Things are different, but staff say the ladies have adjusted amazingly.

“They have been very adaptable. That has made all the difference,” said Rhonda.

While DePaul staff are grateful for the adaptability of the ladies, they are also grateful for the generosity of DePaul’s donors. Long-time donor Sam Marshall, whose sister Victoria Lubeley lives in Harvard Home, invited friends and family to pitch in on an Amazon wish list of activities for Harvard Home. Within one day the wish list was fulfilled and Sam and her friends and family requested another list for DePaul’s other group home in the Lynchburg area. Each Amazon delivery brings joy and excitement to the ladies at Harvard Home—it’s something to look forward to. Staff say Sam calls regularly to make sure the home’s needs are met. In these trying times, community support and generosity are more important than ever.

“The amount of support we are getting is amazing. We are very thankful for it,” said Rhonda.

The world is battling a force unlike anything we’ve seen in recent years. The way we can safely live our lives seems to change every day. But the way we care doesn’t have to. Here at Harvard Home, the ladies are still getting their needs met, still being cared for, still feeling safe and loved. That’s what we must cling to until we fight our way out of this pandemic.

“I love being home and it’s been a blessing to have the staff because they are fun. I love all the new activities that we have been doing,” said Michelle Stover, who lives in Harvard Home.