Communities and organizations have grappled with COVID-19 impacts for weeks and The Mission Project is no exception.
The Mission Project, a nonprofit focused on helping adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities live independently and safely, has had to cancel significant fundraising events — like its signature Run for the Roses Kentucky Derby Gala.
In addition to losing steady revenue streams, The Mission Project’s participants are re-experiencing the isolation, fear and social anxiety that they credit the nonprofit for saving them from, said Development Director Hillary Thomas.
“It’s really been a test to the entire mission of the organization, can they stay independent in a crisis,” Thomas said. “Some of them have been able to and some of them, their families understandably wanted them to be home with them.”
Staff worked to adapt programming and provide alternative support virtually during the pandemic. Art club, movie club and a problem solvers class are among the programming now available virtually, and Zoom is used for socialization, Thomas said. Additionally, the organization’s program director has worked with each of the 31 participants to adapt specific plans for each of them, she said.
Jean Belancio, a participant’s sister-in-law who also supports the organization with operations, said she and her husband moved her brother-in-law to the Kansas City area specifically to be a part of The Mission Project. She said the program opened doors for him socially and personally, and that she’s been impressed with how well all the participants are doing during the pandemic.
“They’ve shown such resiliency and strength with all of the changes in their lives, and I’ve just been amazed at how well they’ve handled the crisis,” Belancio said. “I think The Mission Project prepared them — through its programming and support systems — to enable them to be able to handle this crisis as well as they have.”
The Mission Project recently asked the community for donations as it “cannot, and will not, leave our program participants hanging in a time such as this,” according to the donation request. To make a donation to The Mission Project, visit this website.