by Brenda Rodriguez
It feels really nice to be back at the office. I get to see some of my colleagues again after three months of not seeing them in-person. I can feel that there is that sense of normalcy starting to kick-in. Slowly but surely, I am settling back into a great routine of filling out applications, answering questions, and following-up with clients. I am so excited to see new staff members whether in-person or via zoom. We are still working remotely and will see clients in-person only if absolutely necessary, to reduce the risk of anyone contracting COVID-19.
As many would say, Taller De José is all about accompaniment. Many of us wondered how we would actually be able to accompany someone if we can’t be physically there for them—I asked myself this same question so many times. I would say that most of our clients know at this point that we are working remotely, but not all of our clients have access to social media, and some may not have tried to reach out during this time.
Recently, Carlos* and his wife Bertha* rang our office doorbell. I was called by our Office Manager to see if I was expecting anyone, and I told her that I was only expecting an over-the-phone appointment in the next hour or so. I put on a facemask and a face shield and noticed familiar faces. Now, these weren’t clients that had been assigned to me in the past, but I have definitely seen them at our office before. I explained to Carlos* and Bertha* that our office was assisting clients remotely. Carlos soon explained that they had been clients of ours for the last 5 plus years and every year around this time, a compañera would help them fill out the annual report for the adult guardianship of their daughter Sofia. An annual report needs to be filled out every year for as long as you have the adult guardianship of a disabled adult. If you do not fill out the form or if you don’t return it in time, you will likely receive a letter from the court asking you to come in for a hearing.
I told Carlos* that we would gladly help and asked if he would mind having his temperature taken. Our Office Manager then asked Carlos* some health-related questions to make sure he wasn’t experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms. Carlos* passed our small protocol exam and I directed him to Office 15. Earlier I stated that I was feeling a sense of normalcy, but it stopped feeling normal the moment I had to tell Carlos* to follow the arrows, wash his hands, sit in that specific chair, etcetera. However, the moment I sat down and started asking Carlos* questions about his daughter, it felt normal again. I forgot that I was wearing gloves, a facemask, and social distancing. In that moment, my only concern was that the form was filled out correctly and that Carlos* would be able to mail it in time. While I was filling out the form, Carlos* made small talk about his daughter and shared how he was grateful that we opened the doors to him. I smiled and told Carlos that our “doors” are always open.
*Client names and identifying details have been modified to protect client privacy