Hello KYJO Community! I am so happy to be back in action with our August KYJO Monthly Newsletter. Along with everyone in the world, our agency has had to modify and adjust to the “new normal” during these unprecedented times. In July, we were extremely disappointed to have to cancel our annual Big Bang Weekend. Despite the cancellation, KYJO staff continued to work on plans and new ideas for the participating youth. I am hopeful that we will be able to hold Big Bang next year!
Throughout our agency, from KYJO staff to foster placements, we have all personally dealt with the result of positive Covid-19 diagnoses. As with any other circumstance, we are dealing with tackling this crisis as a team. Communicating all needs and providing the required Personal Protection Equipment to ensure CDC and CCL quarantine guidelines are being followed. Under the California Families First Coronavirus Response Act, administrative staff are diligently working hard to ensure the workplace safety and job security for our employees.
In these challenging times, I want to remind everyone that although there are many things we don’t have control over in this season of our lives. Point your focus on what you can control, focus on the positives, focus on the future. If you focus on what you can control you will not be shaken. While we have all surrendered to the reality that our lives won’t look the same for a while. Remain optimistic and continue to love and support each other!
THANK YOU FOR BEING A VALUED ASSET TO THE KYJO COMMUNITY!
KYJO Outings & Events
Over the past few months our Residential Group Home staff has put their best efforts forward to continue to execute our agency vision of making new experiences for our residents. Throughout the summer, they have gone on adventurous endeavors out on Millerton Lake in Friant, California. Residents have enjoyed experiences kayaking, tubing and camping overnight on the lake.
Thank you to all of our Residential Group Home staff for dedicating time and effort to make these experiences happen for our residents.
Foster Family Agency
The Covid-19 Pandemic has had quite an impact on our FFA staff. Since March, they have been working from home and conducting virtual home visits via Zoom. Kudos to our administrative staff, Sienna Curtin and Laurie Lopez, for making sure that FFA staff is up to date on the Covid-19 Community Care Licensing protocol to properly do their jobs.
In July, FFA staff were still able to hold their annual PHANTOM fireworks booth fundraiser. Social distancing, hand sanitizer, face masks and gloves were supplied at the booth to make sure both staff and customers were protected. Thank you all everyone who came out to support KYJO!
While our families are transitioning into virtual distance learning for the 2020-2021 school year. We are ensuring that our families our equipped with all they need by providing school supplies and encouraging attentive class participation with our KYJO Student of the Week contest. The first week of August, a Zoom resource parent training took place. The training educated participants on the process of requesting an Individualized Education Plan.
Throughout this time in quarantine, many resource parents have created a network of support through their KYJO Facebook group and opening up their homes for respite care. We are in awe of the structure, care and support our Resource Parents have been continuing to give the children they have welcomed into their homes.
Resource Parent Interview
Bruce and Brittany Sousa have been resource parents with KYJO FFA for one year. They currently have two foster placements in their home who are in the process of reunifying with their biological mother. In July, one of the children was diagnosed positive with Covid-19. We asked her questions about her family’s journey through nurturing a child back to health.
How did you start to suspect that you foster placement had been infected with Covid-19?
His biological mother tested positive for Covid. We all had been in close quarters with her while monitoring supervised visits. When the children transitioned to unsupervised, they were with her twice a week for a couple of hours. Everyone in the family got tested but only our foster son came back positive.
Where did you go to have a Covid-19 test? What was the testing process like? How did your foster child react to the test?
Our first test we went to United Healthcare-Sal Mosqueda Community Center. It is one of those drive up test places, we had to wait awhile in line. The test was quick and easy, it freaked out our foster son because it reminded him of the flu test which he didn’t like.
How long did you have to wait for test results? What emotions did you feel while waiting for test results?
We tested on July 11 and got results by July 16th. We didn’t expect any of us to come back positive because none of us had symptoms. Our foster son was the only family member to test positive.
Once test results came back positive what were your quarantine instructions?
Man, there were so many instructions! Unfortunately, our foster son (4) had to be self-isolated in his room for TWO weeks. I couldn’t believe we had to do that to him, I mean he’s 4. I felt that the quarantine would be more detrimental than the actual sickness. My husband Bruce was the parent who interacted with him every day in quarantine. When he did, he had to wear a mask, face shield, a gown and gloves. We had a specific bathroom just for him and would sanitize everything. After any interaction with him we would sanitize everything!
What did the quarantine look like in your house? How did the daily schedule of your household change?
My husband slept in the living room since he was the primary caregiver for our foster son. We ended up separating our two foster siblings into two separate rooms. My biological son and I were in my room. After a few days, my son and I went to a hotel. We felt as though that was the best choice because both of us are immunocompromised and I am pregnant.
What procedures did you take to make sure no one else in your house got infected?
Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize was our motto!!
What did the process look like to clear your home as Covid-19 free?
We had to make sure that our foster son got two negative tests before we were able to finally all be together again under one roof. Just to be safe, my husband and I decided that it would be best to have all of us tested twice with us to make sure we were all negative of the virus. tests before we considered ourselves Covid free just to be safe.
Where did your family look to for support/encouragement while you were in quarantine?
We leaned on KYJO so much! We don’t have a ton of support but did have a few friends that helped us along the way. Thank you, Felicia & Fabian,! (fellow KYJO Resource Parents)
If you could experience the whole process again what would you have done differently?
Nothing, I am proud of my husband Bruce for handling it with so much strength and grace. I just hope we don’t ever have to go through that again.
What is (if you think there is one) the biggest misconception about Covid-19?
There are soooooo many different things and stories of people telling you what you have to do or what they heard about Covid. My biggest advice is do what you feel is best for your family. Follow the guidelines that the agency and CCL provide to you.
New Employee Spotlight
Please give a warm welcome to Kimberly Macedo. She is stepping into the valued role of Finance Coordinator. Born and raised in the Calabasas, California, it was while volunteering with her mother at shelters that she realized that she had a passion for helping people. She began her career working in a hospital setting in orthopedic surgery. As her career developed, she transitioned to working directly with nonprofits. First working with the Hilton family in their endowment sector, improving the lives of those living in poverty and ensuring access to sustainable water for citizens of third world countries.
Kimberly was also the Director of Operations for Project Hero, an organization helping first responders work through physical, mental, and emotional injuries through therapeutic physical activity in the form of cycling. In this position, she was privileged to travel across the world, cycling and witnessing the work of Project Hero firsthand. With participants opening up, sharing their stores, and returning to their normal lives without the use of medication.
She then moved up to Washington State, where she worked at TVW, a non-bipartisan news channel. TVW provides news to the state and creates a truly transparent government to Washington citizens. It didn’t take too long, before California called her home. As she longed to back in this beautiful state and be with her family and close friends. Kimberly is excited to see what is next for her at KYJO. She looks forward to working alongside KYJO’s inspiring team, supporting them and their efforts.
In our Residential Group Homes, we were hit directly with Covid-19. We would like to thank three residential staff members who stepped up in a major way and took their jobs as essentials workers to another level. Child Care Counselors Tyri Haynie, Keyshawn Smallwood and Yazmin Perez worked directly with our Covid-19 positive residents, taking care of their daily needs while they were quarantined for 10-14 days. Bringing them meals and prescription medications while decked out in the required PPE such as face shields, gloves, and medical gowns. For the health and safety, KYJO provided each staff member with a hotel room to make sure that if they are isolated from family members, potentially preventing any further spread of the virus.
Tyri Haynie felt that the “possibility of not working and not helping out residents during their time in quarantine was not an option” for him. He loves his job and cares for the residents that he works for. With all the protections and safety procedures that were put in place. He never felt like his health was at risk. He is dedicated to his job and his “responsibility to help kids out.”
We would not have gotten through these challenging times without these loyal staff members. Thank you for the hard work and commitment.
KYJO would like to extend our gratitude to these two businesses that have lent a helping hand during this challenging time.
Dr. Juan Bautista
Thank you to Dr. Juan Bautista, MD of Bautista Medical Group. He is a former teammate and lifelong friend/supporter of our Executive Director Kevin Jordan. He and his father are a vital part of the Fresno medical community. Graciously lending his expertise to those in need of treatment and advice. This summer he was impacted personally by Covid-19, contracting the virus and successfully working his way back to health. Since recovery he volunteers his time spreading knowledge and helping those most in need on their Covid-19 recovery process.
In addition, he is also always extending himself and his family practice to KYJO in any way that is needed. Shortly after he was cleared and released from the hospital. He stopped by the KYJO fireworks booth. Purchasing a large portion of fireworks for families in the community. Thank you, Dr. Juan Bautista and Bautista Medical Group, for your continued support of KYJO.
City Without Orphans
City Without Orphans is a local non-profit organization dedicated to partnering with churches, families and service providers to help serve the needs of youth in the Central Valley who are a part of the child welfare system. In partnership with VIA church, they held a Back to School Supplies Drive to prepare foster youth with needed school supplies. Donations were given to our Foster Family Agency and dispersed amongst our resource family homes with school aged children. Thank you CWO Executive Directors Daniel and Whitney Bunker for their hard working efforts to organize this drive, helping us make sure the youth of KYJO are ready for the new school year.
Please visit www.citywithoutorphans.com to learn more about how you can help this organization.
Our doors are always open to donations for our Residential Group Homes and foster youth. We are in need of:
- Athletic shoes, hiking boots and river sandals (variety of men’s and women’s sizes)
- New pillowcases and bath towels
- New or gently-used sweatpants
- Paper products (toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels)
- Kitchen supplies (aluminum foil, zip lock bags in sandwich and one-gallon size)
- Cleaning supplies (no-ammonia all-purpose cleaners, laundry detergent, dishwasher soap)
- New, unopened packages of athletic socks – crew or low cut – and boys’ and girls’ underwear
- Personal hygiene items for boys and girls (deodorant, hair supplies, bar soap, toothpaste/toothbrushes, body lotion, etc.)
- Gift cards to grocery and retail stores (Target, Wal-Mart,), restaurants/coffee shops
- Movie, bowling, skiing or swimming passes or tickets to sporting events, concerts or plays
- Arts and crafts items (yarn, beads, art paint, construction paper, poster board)
- Board games, puzzles and playing cards
Gold Seal/Amazon Smile
KYJO Enterprises Inc. was recently accredited with a Guidestar Gold Seal of Transparency. This gold seal indicates that KYJO is an organization that has provided key information to prove their commitment to transparency in the non-profit sector. This seal has been earned by providing insight and up-to-date company information, which will open the door to potential donors and funders to help further the MISSION/VISION of KYJO.
KYJO Enterprises, Inc. is now a featured organization of the Amazon Smile Foundation. Amazon Smile is a charitable extension of Amazon that allows consumers to donate a portion of their purchases to the organization of their choice. Most products that are featured on Amazon are eligible for Amazon Smile with 0.05% of profits being donated. Please visit https://smile.amazon.com to learn more about the program and to sign up to have your Amazon purchases benefit KYJO.