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Important Information from Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee

UPDATED 6/17/2021

A Message from President and CEO Harriet Schiftan:

I’m excited to share that we have a plan for returning to in-person cancer support. Despite the success of our virtual support offerings over the last 15 months – and our intention to continue providing virtual support over the long-term – this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. And we are excited!

As you know, Gilda’s Club has always been focused on health and safety practices that allow us to create an environment that is as safe and germ free as possible and, as we reopen our clubhouse, we will continue to do so. We also recognize that you – our members – know best what is right for you and how to manage and assess health risks associated with your daily activities, like coming to Gilda’s Club. We trust you to make the best decisions for your own health, needs, and situation; we invite you to please be with us in-person when it feels right and to participate virtually otherwise.

To support good decision making, we offer this FAQ. A sincere thanks to the members of our Board, Medical Resource Council, and staff who helped prepare it…

What is the plan for reopening the clubhouse?
Our intention is to begin welcoming members back to the clubhouse mid-July. We will reopen by inviting groups, beginning with healthy lifestyle and expressive arts classes, one at a time, to allow us to make our reopening as safe and well-planned as possible.  We will also be limiting the number of participants in each class to allow for social distancing.

Our Program Team feels it’s important to practice and refine how Gilda’s Club operates in this new normal, before throwing the doors wide open. The things we learn during what we’re calling our “soft reopening” will allow us to reopen fully – when the time is right – in the best way possible.

We will continue to offer Gilda’s Club activities virtually. Activities being offered in-person will still be available via Zoom, too, so you can participate in the way that feels best for your unique situation. We will expand our in-person offerings over time, as it makes sense; the safety of our members remains our priority.

Our ultimate goal is to provide everyone who is part of Gilda’s Club resumed access to the in-person connections and community support that is our mission.

What protocols will be in place as you reopen?  

  • Access to the clubhouse will be limited to those with an appointment or reservation.
  • All members, volunteers, and staff will be required to wear a mask when inside the clubhouse.
  • Class sizes will be limited to allow for social distancing.
  • There will be limited access to common areas, such as the Resource Library and Community Kitchen, to allow for ample distancing.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the clubhouse.
  • All high traffic areas will be sanitized regularly, as has always been our practice.
  • As always, we ask that anyone who is not feeling well for any reason stay home for the safety of our members.

In addition, our air filtration system was upgraded this year to filter out 98% of pathogens, including Covid. 

Will Gilda’s Club staff be required to be fully vaccinated?
The entire Gilda’s Club team is fully vaccinated. This was not required, but it was encouraged so we could protect ourselves and others to the best of our ability.

Will members and facilitators/volunteers participating in-person be required to be fully vaccinated?
We will not require members and volunteers to be fully vaccinated, as many of those we serve aren’t able to receive the vaccine or have received it only to find it ineffective because of an existing medical condition. We do, however, encourage everyone who can safely get the vaccine to do so.

Will kids and teens be allowed to participate in-person?
We are planning several in-person, outdoor activities over the summer, so please keep your eyes and ears open for details from our Program Team. We will continue to offer virtual programs for kids and teen. 

Will Zoom continue to be an option even when the clubhouse opens?
Yes, thanks to a grant from The Frist Foundation, a new, state-of-the-art technology system will allow us to offer hybrid Program activities over the long-term. We are excited to explore the possibilities and grateful for the ways in which this new technology will allow us to increase (and improve) access to our free cancer support program.

How will I learn about updates in the re-opening?
We will post updates regularly on our website, social media, and on our weekly calendar.

Thank you for your patience and feedback as we navigate this long-anticipated return to the clubhouse together.

_________________

UPDATED 7/1/2020

Dear Gilda’s Club Community,

As we begin the month of July, I have lyrics from the Three Degrees song “When Will I See You Again” (written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff) playing in my head. It’s a great song, and though I imagine it is written about a relationship, the longing, yearning, and uncertainty it expresses feels so timely.  “When will I see you again? Will I have to wait forever? Is this my beginning or is this the end? When will we share precious moments? When will I see you again?”

I know I speak for our entire staff when I say we cannot wait to see you at the Gilda’s Club clubhouse again!

For now, we will continue to provide all of our cancer support groups, programs, and workshops virtually and via Zoom to enable members to stay safely at home, yet connected to the Gilda’s Club community, especially those who are in treatment, immune compromised, or in a high-risk group.

We are closely monitoring local Metro Health Department guidelines and data regarding rates of Covid-19 cases, transmission, and the Mayor’s Roadmap to Reopening Nashville.  Our cancer support program will remain entirely virtual until at least August 31, 2020.

Currently, we are cleaning and preparing the clubhouse for our eventual return. The first phase will be to invite our staff back to work while maintaining safe social distance, wearing masks, sanitizing high-touch areas, mapping out one-way traffic flow, and minimizing gatherings. After we have successfully brought our staff back to work, we will reconfigure our clubhouse spaces for socially distanced gathering for small groups. We will need to consult with our volunteers and group leaders to assess their readiness to lead socially distanced small groups. We do not have a timeline for these phases, but will be guided by data and continue to update you.

Please continue to reach out as you need resources, support, or have virtual program ideas. Check out our weekly virtual program calendar and join in an activity! Utilize and share our online Virtual Self-Care Resource Guide, which is updated monthly on our website. In the past four months, we have received more requests for resources and participation than we normally receive in a year!

Finally, Gilda’s Club will be closed July 3-10 for the holiday weekend and a week of furlough. In order to continue to be financially prudent, plan for long-term sustainability, and be responsive to the current economic climate, we have committed to two one-week staff furloughs during the coming year; next week is our first one. We look forward to returning all incoming messages and requests when we return July 13.

We look forward to being together again soon.

Sincerely,

Harriet Schiftan
President and CEO
Harriet@gildasclubmiddletn.org

_________________

UPDATED 3/16/2020

We want to make sure you received the information we sent on Friday, sharing updates on our plans regarding Coronavirus. In an effort to help safeguard everyone’s health and safety, we are suspending all in-person meetings, groups, workshops, and classes at both of our locations until further notice. 

We will continue to post status updates on our Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee Facebook/Instagram/Twitter feeds, as well as on our website (look for the COVID-19/Coronavirus link in the top right-hand corner of our home page).

We will also continue to offer support groups and select classes via Zoom and Facebook Live. If you are a part of an existing support group, your group facilitator will be in touch. For anyone who wants to participate in our virtual healthy lifestyle and stress-management offerings, please look for emails and social media posts with details in the coming days.

In the meantime, stay safe and well. We invite you to reach out to your Gilda’s Club Program staff via email or phone, your group facilitators, and to each other if you need additional support during this unprecedented time.  As is the Gilda’s Club way…we will face this challenge together.

Sending virtual hugs,
Harriet Schiftan, President and CEO
Felice Apolinsky, LCSW, Program Director
And Your Entire Gilda’s Club Family

p.s. We’ve added some great new support resources to our website. Check it out.

_________________

UPDATED 3/13/2020

Your safety and well being is our top priority. As shared previously, Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee has been closely monitoring all of the news and data related to the COVID-19 virus (aka Coronavirus). Based on early information, we added sanitizing measures, strongly encouraged common sense health practices and social distancing, and communicated with members, volunteers and staff the expectation that they stay home if experiencing any symptoms of viral illness.

We want to support measures that slow the spread and potentially decrease the number of individuals who contract Coronavirus. This said, we have made the decision to modify our cancer support program to phone, online, conference call-style groups, and other virtual offerings effective Monday, March 16, 2020. We will not be offering support groups and activities in our clubhouses until further notice.

As a staff, we are committed to doing our best to work remotely and can always be reached via email. We will also continue to:

– Provide support group meetings via conference call. If you are a part of an existing support group, we will be in touch soon.

– Provide individual support via telephone, email and virtual platforms, as appropriate.

– Respond to resource inquiries and referral needs by phone and email.

– Continue to provide updates via email, social media, and on our outgoing voicemail message.

– Welcome and process donations. Your support is more important now than ever.

We will continue to monitor this situation closely and modify our decisions accordingly.

Our goal is, of course, to return to regular programming both in and out of the clubhouse as soon as it is safe to do so. Until we can gather again as a support community, we encourage you to visit the “Education and Resources” page on our website at, where you will find suggested free and accessible resources for ongoing self-care. 

We thank you for your patience and support as we navigate this unique situation with the urgency our families living with cancer deserve.

Sincerely,
Harriet Schiftan
President and CEO