COVID-19 Plan of Action
Like you, VIPS has been deeply concerned about COVID-19 and its continuing spread across our communities. We knew early on that we must play a role in helping to contain this virus, protect the children and families we serve, as well as our own team members who have been traveling across two entire states to fulfill our mission. So, beginning March 13th, we started following the recommendations of the CDC, Governors of Kentucky and Indiana, and the Public Health Departments by closing our offices and directed all VIPS team members to work from home.
We have remained mission-focused and continue to support direct intervention families virtually through the use of technology to ensure their children continue their educational path even during shut down. This model is actually embraced in some states as a primary means of service so VIPS had already been in the testing phase to build capacity and felt comfortable introducing it to families. Our Preschool Teams quickly pulled together for our site based programs and continue to send home individualized work packets for every child which addresses math, literacy, science, art, and fine and gross motor activities. Those classes are currently meeting virtually with much success.
We are unsure of the financial impact to VIPS at this time. On April 3rd we applied for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and were granted some temporary relief. We know we have lost income from donors, corporate partners affected by shutdowns, the Kentucky First Steps Early Intervention Program, and delayed referrals, two canceled corporate golf events, and other sources. We had already been dealing with United Way cuts and other fiscal challenges, but now find ourselves, finding ways to cut back on critical expenses during a time when families need us the most. We are looking forward to making up some of those shortages through the Thursday, September 17th Give for Good Louisville’s one-day online campaign where we have a pool of $18,000 we need to match in a 24-hour period. Additionally, our Dr. Mark Lynn & Associates Stampede for VIPS is now a virtual event on September 26th as is our Cupcake Classic-a 5K for the 5 Senses during the month of October. Our fundraisers have sustained VIPS for many years and so we find ourselves bracing for the impact of delayed or reduced support.
As we celebrate our 35th anniversary, we know the next 12 months are critical and we need our VIPS supporters even more. Please help us during this challenging time by continuing your existing pledges or donations. If you are not a monthly donor--now would be a great time to initiate a monthly gift. The families we serve depend on our teachers and we depend on you to help us in our critical mission to provide early intervention to every child with blindness or low vision.
Learn how VIPS is navigating the current issues facing the non-profit community.
View the live Q&A between Metro United Way and our VIPS Executive Director, Diane Nelson! Hear firsthand how VIPS is handling the COVID-19 crisis, racial injustice and our work in the nonprofit community.
Current VIPS Program Updates
VIPS early intervention services will continue as directed by our respective state First Steps programs, including tele-intervention and limited face-to-face visits. VIPS Kids Town Preschool in Louisville will begin the 2020-21 school year using NTI (Non-Traditional Instruction/remote learning).
Please check out our VIPS Facebook page (“Visually Impaired Preschool Services”) for up-to-date information and for the date of our next “Connecting During COVID” session.
Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse
The Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse has put together a packet of selected tip sheets with ideas and information about how infants and toddlers can learn during play and daily routines. We hope these resources help you think about everyday learning moments in the kitchen, or when doing the laundry, even playing on the couch and turn them into opportunities for Everyday Early Intervention with your family.
Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse Resource page
Kentucky- Jefferson County
Greater Louisville’s corporate community is coming together in an unprecedented way to create a fund aimed at providing much-needed assistance to those in need in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund will provide support for nonprofits and families impacted by COVID-19. The link below contains an updated overview of the Fund including who is eligible for support and how to request it.
Military Family Relief Fund
The Military Family Relief Fund is an emergency fund available to all Veterans experiencing a financial hardship that served on active duty during a national conflict or war time period for at least 12-months and received an honorable or under honorable conditions discharge. The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs has extended this emergency fund during the COVID-19 outbreak to include all Veterans and their families who have been affected by this national emergency. If you or your parent qualifies for this emergency assistance he/she could be awarded a maximum lifetime grant of $2,500.00 for financial assistance to cover up to 2 months of household needs such as food, utilities, and medical expenses: including extra caregiving services during this time, for grocery delivering, check-ins, socialization visiting, and other assistance.