When we wrote our “Best of 2019” post around this time last year, we had no idea what we were in for in the coming months. Needless to say, this year at Matheny has been very different from years past – plans changed, events were adapted or cancelled, social distancing and other safety precautions became our new normal.
However, thanks to our stellar community of patients, residents, staff, families, and supporters, Matheny still accomplished a lot in 2020. Some of the highlights are below.
Thank you for facing this unusual year with us. If we can achieve so much under these unique circumstances, we cannot wait to see what awaits us in 2021! The challenges of the pandemic may continue for some time, but we are prepared. No matter what happens, the safety, care, and happiness of our patients and residents will always come first.
All of us at Matheny wish you and your loved ones a new year filled with good health, peace and joy.
- The year started off strong with our receipt of the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval®for Hospital Accreditation in January. Matheny is proud of our focus on patient safety and careful compliance with performance standards.
- In February, we were thrilled to receive a generous grant from the Delta Dental Foundation, which will help ensure that our Dental Clinic continues to have the equipment, resources, and expertise to provide comprehensive, high-quality dental care to individuals with complex developmental disabilities. We are committed to providing each patient with a comfortable and enjoyable experience!
- Later in February, before the COVID-19 restrictions began, our Arts Access program was proud to participate in the Access-ABILITY Exhibit at Morris Museum for the third time. Work from 15 talented Matheny artists was shown alongside work from Center for Enhancing Abilities in a pop-up exhibit at the museum. This ended up being the only in-person event for the Arts Access program in 2020, making it all the more meaningful.
- At the beginning of March, our Adults Services program got a visit from the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities. We were honored to receive a proclamation from the Governor in honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness month!
- Throughout the most difficult months of spring and summer, we learned just how supportive and enthusiastic our community members can be. Led by the Friends of Matheny, our local community (including neighborhood police and firefighters) organized multiple “hero salutes” where they would circle Matheny’s driveway in their cars, honking horns and waving homemade signs with encouraging and uplifting messages. These were true moments of unity and happiness during a difficult time for our staff.
- When we needed them most, our community of supporters was there for us! We were gifted numerous donations of food and personal protective equipment (PPE) from individuals, families, and business in the wider community. We can’t thank them enough!
- We are always blown away by the talent of our Arts Access artists, and they didn’t let quarantine or social distancing disrupt their creativity! During late spring, Arts Access was able to adapt the facilitation process in order to continue serving artists from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
- We successfully launched a Virtual Miles for Matheny! While staff and participants did a Wheelchair Walk and posed for photos on the Peapack campus, supporters participated and raised money from a distance, riding their bikes or running near their homes and at their own convenience. While we missed seeing one another in person, we proved that nothing can stop us from celebrating the abilities of Matheny’s students and residents!
- Arts Access participated in the highly-anticipated Annual NJMS Collaborative ARTS Exhibit – the 10th anniversary of this special collaboration. With hard work, imagination, and flexibility, the Arts Access program found ways to adapt the exhibition for a virtual space. Over the summer, they showcased the redesigned virtual exhibit and held a virtual artists reception over Zoom. Our talented artists were thrilled to show off their creativity!
- August 2020 marked the start of an exciting new collaboration between Matheny and Children’s Specialized Hospital! This strategic partnership will allow two organizations with shared missions and values to expand their expertise, experience, and resources in order to provide the highest possible quality clinical care and education for individuals with disabilities throughout the state.
- On Tuesday, August 11th, Matheny was visited by the wonderful folks at Cut Red Tape 4 Heroes, who distributed 6,500 pieces of free personal protective equipment to Matheny’s hardworking employees. CRT4H distributes essential equipment directly to NYC organizations, communities, and individuals most in need – hospital, homeless shelter and nursing home workers, veterans, and public housing residents. At that point, Matheny was the second hospital in NJ to benefit from their generosity.
- In early October, we were able to host our annual Golf Outing for the Matheny School! Our golfers adapted to additional safety measures, including masks and distancing, and generously contributed over $25,000 to benefit our wonderful students!
- After several months of closure, our Adult Day Program in Hillsborough reopened in October – and the event was made all the better by a visit from John Elliot of CBS 2 NY! John interviewed several Matheny patients and staff, all of whom were thrilled to be back. What a great way to return!
- We have spent the last several months in awe of the compassion, determination of professionalism of our frontline healthcare heroes. Matheny’s doctors, nurses, therapists, personal care and community resident assistants, and all other clinical staff are simply the best. We’re so lucky to have them on our team and cannot thank them enough.
And finally, we ask everyone to take a moment to remember the precious lives we lost this year. Matheny’s residents, students, and employees who are now resting in peace – their memories will remain alive in our hearts and minds forever.
In the end, we learned to cherish and appreciate family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors more. We are grateful for the experiences had and the lessons learned. We look forward to a happier and healthier 2021.