Gateway Adult Center staff reconnect with members in parade
Members and staff at the Gateway Adult Center consider themselves to be a family, but they’ve had to close down their day program and separate themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday afternoon, June 3, they reconnected with a parade that met members around town directly at their doorsteps.
The Gateway Adult Center is designed to meet the needs of seniors and adults with disabilities while still allowing them to live in their own homes.
At around 12:15 p.m. a group of members and staff met up in the parking lot of the Cardi’s on Cranberry Highway, equipped with balloons and signs with hearts and messages like “Can’t Wait to Play.”
Anne Buker works at Gateway, and said that staff decided to participate in the parade to let their members know that they care about them, and that “we really can’t wait to have them come back.”
From there, a group of nine staff spent about three hours riding in vans and personal cars to visit the homes of 11 other members (three of whom live together in the same house) all across Wareham.
The first stop along the way was to see Cecile Guerin, who at 92-years-old, has been a member at Gateway Adult Center for over 30 years.
Guerin waited in her yard on Kingwood Street, alongside her care provider Terri Thatcher-Harris to reunite with the parade of close friends.
As the vans and cars rounded the corner to her street, Guerin smiled and waved, as staff greeted her with honking horns and kind words.
Wearing masks, the Gateway employees stepped out from the cars and vans to reunite with Guerin.
Lori Horta is a cook at Gateway, and spoke highly of Guerin’s character as someone who brings a lot of joy to the center. “She’s a love,” Horta said of the longtime member.
As staff drove off to the next house, a smile could still be seen on Guerin’s face. “It was a nice surprise for me,” she said bluntly.
After the parade, Program Director Alison Savary said that families seemed appreciative, as many members have not been able to venture out during the pandemic, and the center has been closed since March 16.
“We hope everyone was just as happy to see us as we were to see them!” Savary said.