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The start of every new year is filled with promise and excitement. The calendar is crisp and white and waiting for plans to be made. The start of 2020 was no different. However, little did we know that we were in for a global pandemic that would change our world in a few short weeks. Plans would change and new challenges would take their place.

OCCK has 50 years of experience listening to the needs of people in north central Kansas and developing services to meet those needs. While celebrating this golden anniversary in 2020, we found ourselves in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were able to lean on our rich history and strong foundation to guide our community responses and develop even more services to provide people with the best opportunities of staying safe while staying home.

Throughout the pandemic, we were able to keep our three-fold service, community and economic mission at the forefront of our conversations. We exist solely to serve people and communities and to help fulfill needs. Our team stepped up to the plate to meet the pandemic head on and through strong leadership and a can-do spirit across the board, we were able to focus on people, not problems. We protected independence, and we provided choices and options. We reached out to communities in ways that we had never done before. We worked for people that we had never met. We built new relationships and we strengthened relationships 50 years in the making. We focused on safety in all aspects of our business, ensuring the security of our team and customers.

We embraced the challenges of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. All the departments worked together seamlessly and adapted to what was needed. We talked amongst ourselves, then to customers and families, and then to stakeholders in communities. We developed plans and then implemented those plans without interruption. Our employees were part of every solution, reaching out over and over, providing services at all levels. Our workforce is dedicated and stepped up instead of stepping back. We truly became a community resource for people and organizations when they did not know where else to turn.

The hard work of our employees allowed us to do the following:

  • We called every person we serve and had conversations about what they needed, what they were worried about, in all of our communities, and we addressed those needs and worries
  • We reached out to family members to ask about needs
  • We continued to deliver services in modified ways, without cancelling
  • We expanded services in ways to meet needs
  • We continued to accept new customers and served rural communities, when others were not, often being creative and selfless with solutions
  • We volunteered in our communities, filling in gaps where needed
  • We reached out to county Health Departments for guidance and built new partnerships that will take us forward into the next phase of serving communities
  • We participated in community pandemic planning and response meetings, being able to sit at the table and ensure that people with disabilities were represented
  • We worked hard to ensure our financial success so that our customers can be successful, by looking at budgets, cutting costs and using financial resources
  • We did not sacrifice employees to achieve goals – we kept our staff employed and paid
  • We increased training, education, and communication, while allowing team members to work remotely

We are thankful for each and every one of our employees. Thank you for what you do – it really makes a difference. We also appreciate all of our clients and families. We are here to serve you in the best way that we can. If you have a need, let us know and we will work together to fill it. And to our community partners – we couldn’t do what we do without you. We look forward to continuing our partnerships and serving north central Kansas. Although we don’t know what the remainder of 2020 will hold, we know that we are stronger as an organization and that we will adapt to challenges and develop solutions as we continue to move forward.

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