Whitehorse Connects adapts
During a time that has been tumultuous and challenging for many, it is incredibly important to acknowledge and see those who are extremely marginalized and already face many barriers to connecting to services.
Many people who would usually attend Whitehorse Connects this past May were not able to gather due to the restrictions in response to COVID 19. As one of the coordinators of Whitehorse Connects, it was important to figure out how to support people at a time when services were becoming more and more limited.
Whitehorse Connects is an opportunity for those who are homeless, living in poverty or among the working poor to come together on a given day for a range of health and human services they may not otherwise access. It is about building ties and community. The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition (YAPC) spearheads this initiative, but the broader community is responsible for its evolving scope and continued success. Previous Connects days have included live music, food, haircuts, foot care, immunization, healing touch, access to internet, portraits, minor clothing repair and nursing outreach. Generally held at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, we often welcome more than 200 people for a meal in a welcoming atmosphere.
As our May Whitehorse Connects was cancelled due to the pandemic, we had to adapt and change the way we delivered the day. In partnership with Inclusion Yukon and with input from people who have attended Connects in the past, we tried a virtual Connects in May. The chance to visit and see familiar faces was a highlight.
In June we expanded virtual Connects to a Mini Connects Day where six NGO service providers offered service and support for their clients following COVID protocols and physical distancing. We were able to connect, enjoy some food, provide computer and internet access and share lots of laughs.
Through this “mini” event we saw first-hand that accessible services are needed more than ever. People need support accessing those services and navigating the new systems that have been created due to COVID–19. We learned how important support is to those struggling during the pandemic when vulnerability is increased.
The need for connection is essential. Just because we have to be doing things differently does not mean that we should not do them. These times call for innovation and creative problem solving to ensure that those in our community who are most vulnerable are not isolated and are well supported.
Many thanks to all those who attended, hosted or made in-kind donations to Mini Connects. We look forward to the next one!
Coordinator, Whitehorse Connects
Not the time for COVID-19 in editorial cartoons, reader says
I was shocked and disgusted with the cartoon depicting the COVID roulette wheel and “Place your bets, folks. Who’s gonna get it first?” in (the Aug. 14) paper. In such anxious and troublesome times, to mock such a serious concern is in questionable taste at best and plain stupid really. And the winner is? Billy’s grandma. Susan’s mom. Josh’s teacher.
Shame on you Wyatt.