By Melany Ruiz, Summer Development Intern
COVID-19 has led to the shutting of a number of businesses and educational institutes across the nation and locally, but essential workers, health institutions, nonprofits and governmental agencies are still operating. AADAP is one of them because it cares for its clients and the community it serves.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has required several precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. The Asian American and Drug Abuse Program (AADAP) responded with swiftness to protect its staff, residential clients, and volunteers.
During the initial outbreak, Dean Nakanishi, Administrative Director, provided masks, branded stickers intended for social distancing, and all materials and protocols recommended by the CDC and the State of California.
“We didn’t have supplies. When we tried to get supplies, our orders couldn’t process because the supplies were disappearing… We couldn’t get masks.” Nakanishi stated that the staff was supportive in assisting the agency in procuring the necessary supplies and maintaining cleanliness and containment within the agency.
Aishah Yco, AADAP’s Receptionist, who formerly lived in Singapore, had a connection to a family member who was able to ship 5,000 masks for AADAP’s staff and clients. The main objective was to keep the virus at bay, and, within a month, the agency had appropriate measures in place to secure the necessary supplies.
Additionally, Nakanishi provided training to all employees on safety protocols within the office, as well as training on how to provide quality virtual services using webcams and computers for meetings with their clients.
The pandemic raised several obstacles for the agency such as the cancellation of events and slowed even certain direct services, but AADAP successfully overcame the challenges.
AADAP was not only one of the very first agencies to secure the necessary supplies, but it was also the first to provide COVID-19 testing for their staff and clients. Terri Reynolds, Outreach Services Coordinator, quickly brought in resources and programs to assist and educate the agency’s homeless population on COVID-19 and prevention measures. Reynolds helped a 35-year-old woman who has been homeless for six years. The client had tested positive for COVID-19 and was provided with a hotel room to self-quarantine, storage space for her belongings, and made sure that most of her needs were met.
After following up with the client, Reynolds stated, “She didn’t realize how good it felt to take a bubble bath because she’s been homeless for so long and they only can take showers. Now that she’s in a hotel room, she has the whole bed to herself, a bathroom, a television, so she started to feel normal again. So, it was actually a pretty positive experience.” Reynolds provides services to individuals from all backgrounds and ages. Her eldest client was 85 years old and Reynolds added that community work every day is different and the best part of the work is when the agency is able to transform lives even if it is one person at a time.
AADAP plans to continue with the precautionary measures as area businesses reopen. Louis Lewis, Employment Access Coordinator, pointed out, “What I was hoping was to repurpose. What I was doing this week was installing plexiglass barriers so that individuals can work with protection.” Lewis plans to reopen some of the agency’s work spaces, such as the computer lab, utilizing masks and maintain social distancing as required by the State of California and CDC guidelines. AADAP will continue to maintain protocol compliance during the pandemic outbreak.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, AADAP is still providing quality services for its clients and continuing to protect its staff.
For further information on how AADAP is providing services to the community, please check out the hashtag on our social media platforms: #AADAPCares.