Jan 25, 2021

What are the children doing? Put off the masks!

Put off the masks
Put off the masks

Since the new lockdown and the curfew were established...

September the school year starts again. Since then, SFM Clichy has been welcoming children attending school while respecting the constraints linked to the health crisis we are going through. Hours are extended to Saturday to respect the capacities and prevent children from crossing paths. Computer equipment has been lent with face-to-face and remote proposals to ensure that everyone is familiar with digital tools, Time for reflection and sharing to put words about what they feel has been provided...

The result is a strong participation and a renewed motivation, moments of concentration but also of relaxation, giggles and winks!

The Garden Workshop *: children find themselves in an urban context directly linked to the land and take ownership of their environment. Their experiences are related to the literary, artistic, imaginary and symbolic dimensions of nature.

The Workshop of Emotions offers an activity around the expression of emotions by writing short texts using the register of mood notes in a journalistic style: What makes me angry? What is it that revolts me? What makes me happy? What do I enjoy?

It is about allowing children to name, recognize their emotions and write about them. Here are some examples

I LOVE TO BOTHER MY SISTER! I love when she is talking on her phone, I pick it up and run away. She starts screaming and it gets into a fight. I stop on purpose and then five minutes later come back to her side to do whatever.

“IT ANNOYS ME! It annoys me when parents change their middle school kids without asking their advice. It's horrible! Because it has happened to me before! We don't know anyone, we prefer teachers from the old college and we miss our friends so much!”

Close-up on the garden workshop

Stéphane Fall of the Association les Brigades Vertes intervened in the garden of the Association with the children of the Saturday workshop.He first introduced them to the tools that are used to maintain the garden. Through a game of questions and answers and thanks to a visual support, these tools could be identified, named and handled.Then, he showed to them the maintenance of the garden: weeding of a plot which will be planted in spring, then spreading of dead leaves to protect it from the cold while waiting to mulch it and "feeding" the bin of compost.The following week, the children reconstructed from memory the different activities experienced during this session and illustrated them. Some drawings are shown here.

In the garden
In the garden
Stephan explains
Stephan explains
Tool's names
Tool's names
Sep 29, 2020

Reinventing in pandemic times

Since June our operations are back on track and slowly being redefined with the continued presence of the Covid pandemic.

After the lockdown period, it was a shared pleasure to be able to meet again in person with our public (trainees, schoolchildren, babies, beneficiaries...) however difficult the sanitary constraints were (masks, physical distancing, limited group sizes). We have had to profoundly modify our methods and work organization, with always the same objective: provide the means for empowerment to families who live in poor conditions and have been heavily hit by the consequences of the pandemic (unemployment, health, exclusion...).

The changes in working relationships and organization also affect the team. Currently, each member of the team works remotely, at least one day a week. As a result of the obligation of physical distancing, we have extended our working days from Monday through Saturday.

After the summer, we resumed operations at our site, reaching out to old and new trainees, meeting with the parents of our schoolchildren, and re-opening the daycare and notary public services.

We started the face-to-face lessons. However they will be complemented by remote classes, to help with restrictions on space occupation, and more importantly to accelerate the usage and understanding of new technologies by the trainees and schoolchildren. This is a real challenge for our trainers and volunteers, especially when teaching the French language to non-natives and conducting educational workshops for children. Distance and virtual reality impoverish communication, only two of our five senses are at work: hearing and sight. That’s why the team needs to come up with more games and creative actions to grab the trainees ‘attention and stimulate them.

Sanitary constraints have also forced us to rethink the occupancy of our premises and we will have to make major investments to change part of our furniture, an expense which we had not foreseen. We need narrower tables to accommodate for mandatory distancing between students and adjustable items so we can expand our parenting workshops to families with small babies.

Regarding notary public and advisory services, we receive a limited number of visitors, by appointment only to limit the number of persons in the waiting area. Questions about housing remain the most frequently asked.

Fortunately, in January, we welcomed Nora on our staff. Acting greeter, she welcomes newcomers and manages the stream of visitors at the entrance. She is a great help, giving adequate information, guiding the public towards the relevant contact person and sometimes even fulfilling their request !

 As many areas of our society erode (economy, culture, education, etc.), we must, more than ever, care about the progress of our trainees' journey. Assisting parents and schools, finding solutions to their administrative problems, are more than ever necessary to secure the environment of the people we support, children and adults. We don't give up. We will continue to introduce children and adults to the "real accessible world", as it happened during a summer outing to Montmartre. The City of Paris has increased its perimeter of green spaces. We will not let the Covid prevent us from making our interns explore these spaces in imagination and on foot, for their greatest happiness. We will not let the Covid prevent us from breathing, discussing, experiencing the socialization necessary for their/ our personal balance and that of society.

Jun 3, 2020

"Partnering"... during the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has guided our work since March16th. During the first week, we had to take in the shock: overnight, work as we knew it, stopped. Lockdown was initiated, and everyone went home taking the phone numbers of our trainees and visitors as well as the files necessary for the continued running of operations. Work to organize remote activities started in the next few days, with the following objectives:

 - keep contact with our trainees and frequent visitors,

- offer support and help to fight melancholy,

- compensate for any reduction in subsidies.

This was basically the content of the first message that the Board sent to the employees with a note of comfort: some beauty for the ears and the heart ... from Ella and Louis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnXLVTi_m_M

Thus, in coordination with the management team, the employees and volunteers spontaneously re-engaged remotely in some of their activities with the means available to the families and trainees. We provided psychological support when necessary. At the beginning of April, we opened a hotline from Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and started communicating all useful information on our website and our FB. All activities / contacts were and are recorded day after day.

 When contacted, the families told us that they were mostly fine, even if though they did not go out at all. They were grateful that we kept in touch. At the beginning, the main topics were exchange of news, advice on compensation "offered" by the State according to the parents' situations, resumption of educational support and games.

This allowed us to identify families who did not have the tools necessary to work remotely, so we launched  an apeal to our network (companies and friends) and were provided with 16 laptops that we redistributed. It was quite a surprise to discover the extent of solidarity towards our public.

 One-to-one workshops were time and energy consuming, and as families began to get used to the technology and process of remote training, we progressively developed remote group workshops:  French language training, parenting support groups and workshops, educational support workshops for children, employment workshops...

The families and trainees were most grateful and relieved to be in contact with us.

 We also kept in touch with housing requesters (DALO). Then in April, we decided to launch a phoning campaign towards our most regular senior visitors to offer counselling, inquiring on their material needs, the state of their morale and instruct them on the availability and use of masks. 

During the whole of the lockdown period, the management team were hard at work: closing the 2019 fiscal year, applying to call to projects, and dealing with human resources. Soon they also had to think of preparing for the reopening: taking care of sanitary questions and prevention. It was necessary to comply with the sanitary rules required by the national authorities as well as the Occupational Medicine, establishing protocols in order to resume activities at Drop-in daycare and at our main venue. Once they were validated, the protocols were to be shared with the team, and from today with the visitors.

 The board remained in contact with the team throughout, encouraging, supporting, and overseeing operations. Here is the message the board sent to the volunteers mid-May:

“Dear all,

In continuation of our last email, I wanted with the Board, to inform you in more detail of the measures that will be implemented for the resumption of activities at SFM.

Initially we will only resume activities involving one-to-one interaction: Public writers, intermediaries, including Dalo and reopen the daycare center. Probably June 2. All other activities will continue in the same mode as that adopted during lockdown, ie remote.

The main recommendations concerning the risks have been provided by Occupational Medicine and protocols drafted <…>

I hope you will want to come back to SFM, within this framework. We are looking forward to seeing you there !

Mireille”

 I must say, the continued support of the GlobalGiving community was also of great help. We were so excited for what happened... In March the campaign Little by little was a success, then unexpectedly, SFM was selected by Riot Games (and GlobalGiving) to participate to their League of Legend competition which closed in April ! THANK YOU TO ALL !

 
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