Coronavirus has impacted many across Long Island, but that hasn’t stopped the nonprofit Federation of Organizations from its long-lasting goal of enhancing the lives of vulnerable people throughout the New York Metro area.
It helps that the West Babylon-based organization has long prioritized collaborative, innovative solutions to the routine issues that would arise before the pandemic struck — thanks in large part to consistent leadership and a seamless switch to providing services remotely, where possible.
“The mood is just calm and dealing with what we need to deal with without a lot of fanfare,” says Barbara Faron, who has been CEO of the nonprofit since 1986. “We feel like we’re stabilized, we’re doing what we have to do.”
The nonprofit, which was founded in 1972 and has more than 550 employees, provides many services, including peer advocate support for people recovering from mental and other chronic illnesses, a soup kitchen, as well as specialized supportive housing for veterans, the homeless, and people transitioning out of adult homes, hospitals, and psychiatric centers. All these services are still being provided during the pandemic.
“We were proactive and began the transition to remote working prior to any formal guidance,” says Tracy Falkner, L.M.S.W, a co-deputy chief operating officer for the group. “This made the transition to remote working a smooth process and made us ready for the shelter-in-place order.”
While the group’s 24-hour housing facilities remain operational with on-site staff caring for the 3,000-plus residents, remote clinical services are ongoing for more than 1,100 recipients. Staffers are also running virtual activities such as Zumba, yoga, and video gaming that help people stay connected.
Faron notes that despite this being the biggest challenge that the nonprofit has ever faced and staffers are under intense pressure, there are silver linings to be had, such as clients being more open with psychologists in telehealth therapy sessions.
“I think that it may be the fact that many of our clients are younger … so they are much more familiar with technology,” she says.
Having a strong team helps.
“We have an incredible staff that is dedicated, determined, resourceful, and enthusiastic to help people meet their needs,” says Elizabeth Galati, M.A., who was named co-deputy chief operating officer alongside Falkner in 2019. “They are our greatest asset. We hear a lot about heroes during this pandemic. Our employees are heroes and are helping the most vulnerable people in our society everyday.”
To learn more information about the Federation of Organizations visit fedoforg.org
For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus