CAC Supports Clients During Quarantine

Stephen DonahueBlog

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The Client Advisory Committee (CAC) is a group of individuals, ranging in age, 16 and over.  come together monthly to interact and make friends and memories with one another. The sole purpose of the CAC is to give our clients those fun experiences and memories that will stay in their minds.

With this difficult time that we are all going through, an extra layer of fear is being experienced by our clients at IRC. That is where the CAC and the Community Engagement team came into play— with various resources, care packages, and postcards delivered to our clients. We are letting them know that they aren’t alone during this rough time. The Client Advocates for Regional Center went a step beyond, making a weekly virtual hangout for the clients so that they can still retain and keep in contact with one another.

Autism Society and Food Grants

Using funds that would have been used for their yearly CAC Casino Night, the IRC CAC provided a grant to the Autism Society Inland Empire (ASIE) for food gift cards. The CAC is the head of the Virtual Food Drive, along with In-Roads Creative Programs, Pathway Inc., and Another Way. This will give roughly 200 families in the low desert/Coachella Valley and the high desert $100 dollar gift cards. The cards are being given primarily on the individuals live independently and families most in need.  The Virtual Food Drive wouldn’t be a thing if it weren’t for Daisy Quiroz and Lilliana Garnica, from IRC, in collaboration with In-Roads. Thank you for making this happen! And one more special thank you goes to CJ Cook, for coordinating all these various activities during this time.

Games and Postcards

With all that’s going on lockdown wise, it can get not only lonely but start to get boring as well. Thankfully, there were a handful of games and postcards delivered to IRC clients. The games that were sent out were Jenga, Connect 4, Uno, Candyland, Sorry, and Trouble, along with coloring books to enjoy! Thank you, Daisy Quiroz, for coordinating the deliveries. The postcards, which were named “Positivity Postcards”, were handwritten by Amelia Maldonado from our Community Engagement team and tailored to the client. These postcards were sent out to clients that were nominated by their Service Coordinator. The Community Engagement team did the postcard design, whilst the CAC paid for the postcards and postage. The purpose of these postcards and games was to let the clients know that we as an agency are here for them during all of this and at the same time bring a bit of fun and joy, putting a smile on their faces. That is what we strive for every day we work, either from home or the office.


Hangout from Home

Speaking of the word home, Client Advocates— Gregory Harrison,  Cody Williams, and myself have put together a special event for the CAC members, and any other client of IRC wanting to connect and have some fun for an hour. The Hangout from Home events, hosted by me, Client Advocate Stephen Donahue, happen weekly around 1:00 pm and take place on Microsoft Teams. There, the Client Advocates and members from the CAC and IRC talk and hangout. We also discuss topics that they would want to see come out of the CAC when events are able to take place once again. Anyone and everyone can come and join in on the fun! Keep an eye out for IRC social media posts to know more about the CAC virtual hangouts!

From everyone at the CAC, we hope that everyone is staying safe during this time. Know that we are all in this together, always.

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Stephen Donahue

Stephen Donahue is a Consumer Advocate at IRC. In his role as an Advocate, Stephen supports IRC clients in expressing themselves and ensuring they have platform to be heard. He is a member of IRC’s Community Engagement team where he is active in hosting Clients Advisory Committee (CAC) events and performing community outreach. When he isn’t working, Stephen’s interests include health and fitness, spending time with family and friends, as well as watching movies, TV and playing video games.

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