By Jen Phillips, Keshet Chief Program Officer
I have always talked about the meaning of community at Keshet. Community is a value that I believe in deeply, and feel in every aspect of what Keshet does. Unfortunately, it can be easy to fail to recognize what we have, or how special it is, until it changes or is lost. Our lives have changed so much these past few weeks, but this has given us the opportunity to see things in a different way.
When Keshet was faced with having to close all of our programs, we didn’t have much time to consider how we would maintain this sense of community. We knew that we had to do whatever we could to make sure that we stayed connected, but how would we make that happen? How would we continue to run quality programs that had "that Keshet feel?" Our program leadership team worked nonstop to create opportunities for community; it is beautiful to see how everyone and everything was thought through so deeply. What we rolled out was the product of our Keshet family doing what a we do: supporting each other without hesitation.
Keshet began offering virtual programming weeks before other programs were able to. We watched as our program staff, team members, students, residents, and participants joined together via Zoom. Every time a new program was offered there was so much excitement! Our entire community was back together! Four weeks into our programming this feeling continues. Many of our staff join in on Zoom programs even when they are not leading them. We continue to support each other and yearn for that feeling of connectedness. These programs have brought us together in new and exciting ways. I keep hearing how proud our staff and families feel to be a part of the Keshet community.
Despite the challenges we have faced since the beginning of March, Keshet staff have continued to carry out our core values--teamwork, respect, patience, dignity, positivity and communication--in every aspect of what we do. This is a huge part of what has enabled us to maintain our strong sense of community. These are the ideals that have gotten our families and staff through this difficult time. We are a strong community moving forward together.
I have witnessed so much love in how our families and staff reach out to one another. Hearing the joy in each other’s voices reinforces the awareness that we are all experiencing a similar sense of family. I could not be prouder of who we are. In this time of uncertainty, at Keshet we are feeling so much hope for the future. I have never felt more honored or lucky to be a part of this family.