When will OTB begin providing services in the building again?
This question is highly dependent upon how effective current measures are at slowing the spread of the Coronavirus infection. If social distancing and stay-at-home orders work quickly at decreasing the tremendous strain on hospitals, and individuals are able to follow the important guidelines outlined by the CDC and local authorities, we will be able to open our doors sooner. We are in constant discussion about when that will happen and, when that time comes, will work diligently to notify the public.
When OTB opens, how will you ensure social distancing occurs given the small group spaces?
When we are able to open back up, we anticipate a slow start as many participants may choose to remain home for a while longer. We will maintain guidelines and best practices suggested by health officials by keeping even smaller groups than usual (no more than 4 participants and 1 staff per room), removing excess furniture from rooms to encourage 6ft of distance between individuals, and not participating in community outings or riding in staffs’ automobiles.
Will I still get to be a part of my small group, do my favorite things, and work with my favorite staff?
We want everyone to be prepared with the knowledge that things will likely not be the same for a while once we re-open during this pandemic. We will do everything we can to ensure meaningful and fun activities are occurring, however, when participants return they will likely be working with different staff and be included in different small groups than they were previously a part of. Over time and as more people return, we will be able to move towards more normalcy in our everyday operations.
When OTB opens, what changes will I need to make to my regular habits?
All participants and staff will be asked to wear masks (or some form of nose and mouth coverage such as bandanas or scarves), wash their hands upon entry, be prepared to leave immediately if signs of any illness are present, and adhere to hourly reminders to wash hands in order to participate in services.
What are my favorite OTB staff up to during this pandemic?
Sadly, due to the way the Medicaid Waiver is structured, we are unable to bring in enough money when OTB is closed to retain all employees. The difficult decision was made to furlough all hourly employees until we are able to open back up. Our hope is to bring back these passionate, dedicated, and incredible humans as quickly as possible and are exploring all options available to help take care of each other during this difficult time.
What is OTB doing in the meantime to stay connected to the community?
A small crew of OTB administrators are providing virtual FHIOs (1:1 meetings), virtual small groups, and conducting regular phone calls to program participants. Some minor improvements to the OTB facility are being done, when possible, like deep-cleaning the kitchen, painting various rooms, and disinfecting common areas. We’re also missing everyone so much and can’t wait to get back to see you all!
How can I help OTB during this strange time?
When OTB opens back up we will follow all CDC recommendations for trying to stay safe. Because of that we will likely ask all participants and staff to wear masks. If you’re a skilled sewer and would like to donate some time and resources to making fabric masks, please do so! Here is a link to a very helpful pattern: https://sarahmaker.com/how-to-sew-a-surgical-face-mask-for-hospitals-free-pattern/
Please also keep in mind that there are many people with more immediate needs that OTB. Please be kind to your neighbors, offer to get groceries for others when you’re going out, send encouraging cards to healthcare workers, or buy gift cards for your favorite local restaurants.
How will Inside the Bottle, OTBs annual fundraiser, be impacted by this pandemic?
We will be postponing this event until there is different guidance from the CDC about gatherings. Our tentative reschedule date is October 1st, 2020.
Through years of experience, and a shared passion for supporting people with developmental disabilities, Outside the Box, Inc.(OTB) co-founders envisioned giving people MORE…more opportunities for learning, hope, and purpose. In 2008, OTB became a reality and no longer a dream. Outside the Box (OTB) co-founders quickly turned into two part-time employees, a graduate intern, and a four-person clientele in a borrowed conference room. Within the first two years, we expanded into our own space housing 15 staff and nearly 100 participants. Today OTB is now in a 14,000 square foot home on seven acres of green space supporting over 350 participants and 50 staff.
Outside the Box is more than just a name. It is a unique culture that empowers our participants and staff members to become the very best versions of themselves. By celebrating individual successes and building inner wealth, it is our hope that everyone experiences personal growth during their time at OTB and beyond. OTB provides three lines of services to let our participants explore different opportunities. Our Day Services Program is where our participants are peer matched in small groups and work through structured curriculum and have weekly opportunities to practice skills in community settings of their choice. Employment Services is dedicated to working with participants on skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the workforce. Studio OTB, allows program participants to express themselves artistically and explore with their tactile and visual senses through a variety of media.