By Dora Chou, FCSN East Bay Outreach and Family Support Program Coordinator
Translated by Jim Chiao
A few days after Bay Area’s Shelter-In-Place order, California Governor Gavin Newsom, announced the Stay at Home order on March 19th , 2020, asking all residents to stay home when possible to prevent the spread of the COVID 19. Immediately afterward, all public schools and all Regional Center service providers also sent out notices to suspend, cancel, or limit the scope of their programs. FCSN canceled the following programs: 2020 Spring family gathering & seminars, monthly South Bay coffee socials and East Bay afternoon tea socials. The new pandemic caused uneasiness as changes to our daily routine became worrisome to many, and we are all affected by negative feelings that come with the spread of the virus. However, the crisis also brought with it some new opportunities.
In the past, our programs such as Family Support Gathering & Seminar, coffee socials and afternoon tea socials, and holiday celebrations (Moon Festival, Lunar New Year… etc.), used to take place in South Bay Center (San Jose) or East Bay Center (Fremont). The original intention of separate centers was to expand the scope of our service, with outreach to more Asian families, sharing our resources, and supporting each other in our difficult journeys of raising children with special needs. Unfortunately, due to the increasing traffic congestions, many families chose to participate in programs at only one of the two sites. Furthermore, many families became more regionalized, and sometimes we heard talks about “our South Bay, your East Bay,” overlooking the fact that FCSN is one big family.
Yes! The crisis has brought us new opportunities! Even though we cannot meet as usual during the Shelter-in-Place, we have discovered that it cannot separate us from each other or love. The Outreach and Family Support Department has put in more effort into our Facebook, Line, and WeChat social networks, to promote quick interaction among our member families and improved our delivery system for weekly announcements. In addition, we are using Zoom service to combine Family Gathering & Seminar, coffee socials and afternoon tea socials into a weekly online meeting. (For the latest meeting time please refer to FCSN Weekly Announcements.) As of September, we have already registered over 400 participating families since our first meeting on April 3rd. With Shelter-in-Place, parents have to stay with their kids 24/7; it is a test of parents’ patience and wisdom. Parents of children with special needs face even more of a challenge. In April, we invited Regional Center of the East Bay (RCEB) and San Andreas Regional Center (SARC) representatives to participate in a panel discussion, explaining to parents “what services Regional Center can provide during Shelter in Place?” We had another session with Auntie Anna Wang & Dr. Moon Chia, discussing “Behavior problem & management of children with special needs.” Also, we had a very lively discussion session with parents and invited guest, Shiowluan Chen, on “Preparation for transition of special needs teenagers into adulthood.”
Additionally, Dr. Albert Wang, FCSN co-founder and current chairman who is well-known in the Bay Area and an internal medicine doctor at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, was invited as a guest speaker on UChannel TV’s weekly program “Open Mic.” He appeared on the program for four consecutive weeks that started on March 20th, sharing his view on the latest development of the fight against COVID 19. We relayed the links to our members through Line and WeChat to provide them with another reliable source of information. At the same time, we also invited Dr. Albert Wang as a guest to our first Zoom meeting, to answer coronavirus related questions.
Beyond our members, FCSN is also an active participant in community activities to form a better friendship and bonding with our community partners. Our members can get the latest updates through our weekly announcement as well as our social networks that share information, links, and resources of our community. Through our weekly online family meeting, special needs families are brought together to share information, and discuss family support issues. In fact, this might be the best way to get to know other FCSN families during the lock-down. During this Stay at Home period, we want to emphasize to our dear family members and friends: because of love, we are all together and none of us is alone.
Past family support meeting topics are listed in FCSN webpage below. http://fcsn1996.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Family-Support-and-Outreach_20200904.pdf
If you need more information regarding the family support gathering, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Mic with Dr. Albert Wang on Coronavirus (UChannel TV in Mandarin):
加州州長紐森（Gavin Newsom）於2020年3月19日頒布居家避疫(Stay at Home)命令，要求 居民盡可能待在家中以防止新的傳播，隨即各公立學區以及區域中心所屬的服務供應機構也發出停課通知，暫停或限制提供部分服務項目。2020年春季家庭講座，以及每月一次的南灣咖啡與東灣下午茶家長座談會也都暫停了實體聚會。 「未知的新型病毒」讓人感到不安，「生活方的改變」使人感到焦躁，這些負面情緒隨著疫情擴散也影響著我們。然而，「危機」同時也帶來了「轉機」！
過去家庭支持聚會(Family Support Gathering & Seminar)、咖啡&下午茶家長座談會(Coffee, Afternoon Tea Socials)，節慶活動等(Moon Festival, Lunar New Year Celebration…etc.)分別於南灣(San Jose)與東灣(Fremont)中心舉辦，出發點是為了擴大服務範圍，連結更多的亞裔家庭，分享資源、相互扶持走這條不容易的育兒之路。無奈近幾年來因著灣區交通日漸擁擠，考量方便性，慢慢地許多家庭只選擇參加單一中心舉辦的活動，甚至還冒出「我們南灣、你們東灣」這類的耳語，忽略了FCSN本是一個大家庭。
是的！「危機」同時帶來了「轉機」！縱使居家避疫使得我們不能如往常一般聚會，但它無法使我們與愛隔絕、與愛連結！外暨家庭支持組投入更多人力管理Facebook、Line和WeChat社群平台，促進與會員家庭互動的即時性，並優化了每週公告電郵發送系統。此外，也使用Zoom雲端會議軟體，整合以往地區性的聚會形式，將家庭支持聚會與講座(Family Support Gathering & Seminar)、咖啡&下午茶家長座談會(Coffee, Afternoon Tea Socials)結合為每週辦理的線上聚會－Zoom Meeting。自4月3日第一次聚會至九月為止，已有超過400個家庭共同參與。最新聚會資訊請參考 FCSN Weekly Announcements.
居家避疫期，家長與孩子們24小時「宅在一起」，考驗著家長的耐心與智慧。尤其是有特殊需要子女的家長，面臨的挑戰更佳艱鉅！ 四月份，我們邀請了東灣(RCEB)以及南灣(SARC)區域中心代表擔任線上會議的與談員，向家長們說明「區域中心有何服務可幫助我們度過 COVID-19 居家避疫期？」；還有大家熟悉的Auntie Anna & Dr. Moon，與家長們探討「特殊需要子女行為題與管理」，衷秀鸞老師也針對「特殊需要子女進入成年期的準備工作」與家長們有熱烈的討論。
此外，在灣區廣為人知的Dr. Albert Wang王彥邦醫師，他是FCSN共同創辦人、現任理事長，同時也是Palo Alto Medical Foundation內科醫師，他受邀擔任優視頻道UChannel TV製播「開放麥 Open Mic」節目嘉賓，自3月20日起連續四週，每週一次接受訪談，與灣區的朋友們談論抗疫情報和解讀現況。我們透過Line和WeChat社群轉發視頻連結給會員家庭，為家長們在漫天未經查證的訊息中，提供可信的抗疫情報，同時也邀請Dr. Albert擔任4月3日首場Zoom Meeting的特別嘉賓，為家長們解答防疫相關問題。
FCSN不僅關心自家人也積極參與社區活動，更與社區夥伴機構建立了良好的友誼與緊密的連結。會員們可以透過每週發送的公告電子郵件，Line和 WeChat社群平台，收到外展暨家庭支持組轉發、共享社區的各項資訊與資源。而，每週舉辦的線上家庭支持聚會和研習座談會，更將特殊需要家庭聚集在一起，分享資源、討論家庭支持的多項議題， 這是在居家避疫期認識其他家庭的好方法。親愛的家人、朋友們，在這場抗疫戰中，因著愛，我們不孤單！