The Guild for Human Services, which educates, encourages, and empowers individuals with intellectual disabilities, is premiering its documentary, The World Got Smaller: The Spirit of The Guild during COVID-19 on March 16th at 1 PM EST online. The short film provides a first-hand look at how the pandemic curtailed the community life of individuals with intellectual disabilities. The film is being released to commemorate the second anniversary of the State of Emergency declared in Massachusetts and the subsequent closing of schools. To view the trailer and register for the free event, go to theworldgotsmaller.com.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 brought life as we knew it to a standstill. Mandates left healthcare providers scrambling to create a blueprint for the unknown. The Guild for Human Services, a Massachusetts-based non-profit that provides residential and academic programming for people with intellectual disabilities, was no exception. Almost overnight, school and residential staff pivoted to move classrooms to students' residences, create supplemental day programming for adults, and live with those they served during quarantine. Residents were isolated and separated from their loved ones for months on end, all the while navigating the ever-changing state mandates and policies. Through it all, The Guild's community adapted and grew stronger.
“During this pandemic, we had to make the world of the people we serve smaller,” said Amy Sousa, CEO of The Guild. “Their community life was curtailed and their choices reduced. I hope this film will show how individuals with intellectual disabilities are underestimated and how vital it is that we all work to create inclusive communities where people can achieve their full potential and lead high-quality lives.”
The film features interviews with Guild staff, students, residents, and community partners. Viamark Video produced the film.
Following the 25-minute film screening, a Q&A will be moderated with the following panelists that appear in the movie:
Amy Sousa, CEO
Maxine Dieudonne, Residential Manager
Nathalie Etame, Residential Manager
Janice Goodwin, Parent of Guild resident
Jennifer Smith, Director of Health Services
The film has received enthusiastic support from the human services sector.
"The World Got Smaller eloquently tells the inside story of a disability agency and school, which had to pivot like others during the pandemic. Seeing how the pandemic stole the day-to-day choices of the residents and students should galvanize us all to keep fighting for inclusion and community life in the post-pandemic era."
Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director, The Arc of Massachusetts