Girls happily reading their books - at Orchard Place Des Moines

CEO Anne Starr's April 13 Email Update

April 13 CEO Update

Dear All,  

Today’s inspirational quote is from John Danos, Orchard Place Operating Board member. John send’s his thanks and best wishes to all and shares a J.R.R. Tolkien quote from his work, The Fellowship of the Ring


“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien 


Epic tales of courage and faith inspire, stories of doing what is right are metaphors for our work today. We didn’t ask for this pandemic; we might wish it had happened in another time, we feel we are battling a war and are and uncertain of the future. We are only sure of what we can do today.  


Sanctuary on! Anne




· Remember all your infection control and other COVID containment practices. These are working although we often, as individuals, cannot see the direct correlation between our efforts and the positive impact. 

· OP is going to push back the performance evaluation timeline from our typical timeline of now through May, instead to begin in June and conclude late summer. This is a time when everyone person’s energy is focused on connecting with one another and our families.  

· The Sanctuary Core Team meeting in January 2020 focused on feedback from employees that guided our we need to improve our “open communication.” At that Core Team meeting, Senior Management committed to reviewing feedback from around the organization and that we would implement an improvement plan. The formal plan we developed leverages 1) continued use of SELF meetings and 2)developing a formal process for how committees communicate change around OP. Senior management has been working on both of these action items. Then along came COVID. Leadership began notifying daily about updates and changes at the branch level and org-wide. SELF meetings are happening around the organization and bring forward many safety concerns as well as emotions, losses, and what we want for our future. We have a draft process flow for committee work that we will pilot this month. You have given a lot of feedback that you appreciate the open communication, and we don’t want to lose that after the pandemic. 

· We are pleased that the Wellmark health plan and dental plan will not have any increases for employees this year. Val communicated that to everyone last week. This is rather extraordinary for any company at this time, so please, celebrate this!

· In Iowa, we still appear to be approaching the peak of the curve. We have not yet seen the worst. We are ready and able to meet this. 


Campus Specific: 


· We had a youth tested for COVID late last week, and the test results were negative. Every day we can go without a COVID case is a good day. 

· All visits between youth and families have been discontinued for now. 

· Des Moines Public Schools begins online instruction this week, and we appreciate the support from our campus school staff to help us use this to the best advantage for our youth. 

· We have discovered working with face masks makes it difficult to convey messages. We all rely heavily on our nonverbal cues to help others understand our intent and the content of the message. If you come across any articles for us that would help us communicate “through the mask,” PLEASE SEND IT!


Child Guidance Center specific:  


· Screen fatigue has become a challenge for people doing telehealth. Staff are expressing it and learning ways to refresh between sessions.  

· CGC continues to accept referrals.

· One of our CGC youth did a community meeting with the Easter Bunny. I say, “why not?!”


PACE specifics:


· PACE is in the process of determining how to provide groups to Substance Use staff and BHIS youth. Group is an important therapy modality for these youth and counteracting isolation and estrangement resulting from their illness. 

· PACE is accepting new referrals.