ADAPT’s new interactive daily webinar series called Wake Up ADAPT connects people supported and staff by offering valuable lessons, updates, and informative content, which is mixed with puzzles, games, and engaging interviews.
At the beginning of May, a platform was created for Adult Education Services to allow for regular programming to become available remotely. Through the use of video conferencing technology, the WACN network was born. This helped to contribute and expand upon the efforts of the Adult Education Services that were being provided in ADAPT’s residential locations and beyond. Jeisson Cardona and Kelly Spina, both Coordinator of Operations, met with Sharon Frazier, Senior Coordinator of Operations, to discuss ways to make our services more readily available to people supported while everyone is mandated to stay home and social distance. Kelly pitched the idea of having an online morning radio show, which further developed into a webinar series using our video conferencing technology. Jeisson immediately knew who would be the perfect host- Alicia Angevine, Director of Recreation Services. It didn’t take much convincing. When Alicia was approached with the opportunity, she immediately signed on. She was appreciative of the opportunity to be the host and connect with persons supported while everyone was quarantining. The 100+ daily subscribers of the show can vouch that Alicia has proven herself to be a natural entertainer and educator. With over five years of experience working directly with people supported at ADAPT in programs and recreational services, Alicia was up for the task.
The trio: Alicia, Jeisson, and Kelly worked together to get the show up off the ground collaborating, producing, and brainstorming on content as well as spreading the word about all that is has to offer. Topics in the show include disability rights, self-advocacy, discussing the importance of voting, helping to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, holidays, and so much more. Also, there are daily interviews with participants, including staff and people supported, which allows everyone’s voice to be heard and facilitates the opportunity for participants to get to know and interact with people throughout the ADAPT family. There is also a tremendous amount of fun had with games such as Family Feud, Jeopardy, Name that Tune, and Karaoke. Alicia’s high energy, warmth, and positivity is contagious and helps to unite people from all across the agency- many of whom may not otherwise have met. It really makes an impact on people supported because they are still engaging while at home. It gives some semblance of normalcy by allowing folks to see familiar faces and friends. It also helps quell fears during a time of so much uncertainty.
Timothy Thomas, Habilitation Assistant at Brooklyn Day Hab 3 and interviewee during one of the shows, stated, “I hope everyone realizes what I have come to realize. We work for an awesome agency! We found a way to adapt to these unfortunate circumstances by maintaining the socialization factor, which is so vitally important to staff and participants. I think this radio show is the best thing we ever did, and I’m hoping once we get back to a normal way of life that we continue to keep this radio show as part of our curriculum.”
Another show which has been gaining popularity, The Overview which is ADAPT’s take on ABC’s The View, is hosted by two self-advocates, Vernita Paige, President of ADAPT’s Self Advocacy Group and Shaniqua Freeman in addition to two of ADAPT’s executive leaders, Laura Hickman, Senior VP Marketing and Fund Development and Lauren Petrin, Senior VP of Finance. The show focuses on current events, hot topics, and discusses the weekly schedule of classes and program options. It also includes dances,
sing-alongs, quick quips, and lots of laughs. The hilarious team brainstorm together and pitch different ideas where they then agree on what will make it to the show.
Shaniqua became involved in the show after talking with Jeisson about her interest in working in the radio industry. Shaniqua stated, “I’m learning to become confident in myself, so me doing the show with them, it’s cool. It’s giving me experience in what I want to do eventually down-the-line. When Jeisson came to me with the opportunity, I had to put my ego aside and see how it goes.” She continued, “I want to get the confidence to push myself to do my own podcast eventually. I want to encourage people with disabilities. That’s my ultimate goal. I want to inspire people.”
The creation of the WACN network ignited the push to make many more classes available online. Now the WACN network boasts over 100 different interactive, instructional, and recreational webinars across all of ADAPTs programs, including courses on Rights Education, Music, Socialization, Health, Fitness, Women’s Group, Men’s Group, Meditation, Communication and so much more. All are working to unite persons supported and staff and continue essential supports and services while quarantining. As Jeisson Cardona discussed, “This is just the beginning.”