Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Offsite Adventures, Part II

Even though the Museum has been closed for the past 5 weeks, our good work has carried on, thanks to the hard-working staff of Families Together. FT is a theraputic visitation program for court-separated families, in partnership with DCYF. The FT staff usually supervise family visits in the Museum's exhibits and their cozy family room (piled with boxes here), but since we've been closed, they've had to relocate.

Visits have taken place at Federal Hill House and the playroom at St. Joseph's Hospital (we're extremely grateful for their generous support!), as well as at public parks and playgrounds and fast food restaurants, which can be far from ideal.

There are many challenges to working offsite: not as much privacy, working in environments that don't always support and understand family interaction, less freedom for families to make choices about what's best for them, staff working in unfamiliar environments and thus needing to do more planning & anticipating, bathrooms that close at 4:00!

Program staff and families have had to be flexible – they all miss the Museum, but they've made the best of it. The program's clinicians have learned to arrive at visits equipped with games, art supplies, sunscreen and more. Jessica has turned her vehicle into a "Play-mobile" packed with books, blocks, cars, a first aid kit, diapers, water, snacks... she's extremely well-prepared!

Being closed has made Families Together staff and families appreciate the Museum even more and has also opened our eyes to the sheer number of social services agencies that use and rely on us – we're a community resource, and that feels really good. And we'll welcome everyone back in just three weeks, on October 28 – we can hardly wait!

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