“Coronavirus started, and I’m upset and angry that I can’t leave the house yet because I’m in quarantine,” -TJ Sheppard, Adult Resident
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.
The World Got Smaller: The Spirit of The Guild during COVID-19 features interviews with Guild staff, students, residents, parents, and community partners and provides a first-hand look at how the pandemic curtailed the community life of individuals with intellectual disabilities.
"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
“This film captures how changing protocols, visitation restrictions and staffing shortages at human services agencies limited daily life for people with disabilities during the pandemic. It also tells the story of some of the incredible workers in the human services sector, and the great lengths they went to in keeping those they cared for safe during a challenging time. The World Got Smaller demonstrates how crucial it is, now more than ever, to invest in human services and ensure people with disabilities and others needing supports receive the essential care they need.” -Michael Weekes, President/CEO, Providers' Council
“This thoughtful, touching documentary shines a necessary light on the devastating impact the early days of the pandemic had on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), their families, and agency staff. The stories shared by each of the parties interviewed are truly compelling and at times, quite heartbreaking. After viewing this film, I am not only filled with enormous admiration for the innovation and dedication shown by staff, but I am also in awe of the resiliency of the individuals served and their families." -Patty Ames, Member Services Director, Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers
“The Spirit of The Guild is a story of resilience and hope. It is an extraordinary story about a special program and how families and staff came together to support the students and adults living at The Guild. It is moving to see how The Guild community, including families and staff, rallied together to manage the trauma of COVID, the isolation, the day-to-day struggles. Three cheers to Amy, The Guild staff, the family members, and the residents for your resilience and commitment to supporting students and adults with disabilities." -Pam Nourse, Executive Director, Federation for Children with Special Needs
"This was so wonderful and moving! We loved listening to everyone's perspective of life over the past two years! It truly reinforced our opinion: The Guild staff are a remarkable, dedicated, compassionate group of people and we truly feel blessed to be part of this amazing community." -Sue and Norm S., parents of Guild adult resident
Host a screening:
If your group, organization, or association would like to host an online film screening, please contact Rich Greif, Director of Communications and Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support The Guild's COVID-19 Renovation Projects:
COVID-19 has impacted The Guild in so many ways. Due to the round-the-clock use of our 21 homes for over a year, we have more than $500,000 in high-priority renovations and repairs alone. For our residents, #TheGuildisHome. Please consider donating today to fund these vital projects and help create inclusive communities for people with intellectual disabilities.
Q&A with Bhuren Patel, PelMeds Community Pharmacy
Guild staff came together throughout the pandemic in new ways to support the individuals we serve - but we couldn't do it alone. In this interview with PelMeds Community Pharmacy President, Bhuren Patel, you'll get an inside look at the unique challenges I/DD providers faced in securing PPE and providing vaccinations for individuals in their care:
This film was produced by Viamark Video. Viamark's "Creative for A Cause" campaign seeks to tell compelling video stories that move people and motivate the masses to take action - whether that's improving their own life or helping an entire community. To learn more about how Viamark collaborates with mission-driven organizations to solve problems and accomplish big goals, click here.