COVID-19 Update from NH

As you know too well, we were forced to suspend all our ongoing programs and special events on March 13th. We know it has posed very serious consequences for the families who depended on us and on the NH staff team, as well. But there was no alternative for NH but the closure decision.

For the foreseeable future, all our program operations at Neighborhood House itself, at our International Learning Program, and at Albert Story Elementary School, and at our Nature Center remain suspended. That said, you will see below, we are working hard on a variety of fronts behind the scenes.

Neighborhood House has a very strong team and a solid financial base but this pandemic requires strong measures. As I told you last week, due to concerns for the safety of our families and our staff and the prospects for a protracted COVID-19 impact period, we temporarily laid off all NH staff effective March 22nd but for one part-time finance office staffer. Between the March 13th closure and March 21st, all NH team member salaries were sustained and during the closed period itself, NH will be supporting its staff benefits plans, including health insurance.

We will resume programming as safely and as expeditiously as possible. With the March 29th U.S. Government COVID closure order extended to at least April 30th, our very early dream of reopening on April 13th (the original Milwaukee Public School’s reopen date) is not possible. I wish I could tell you when that will happen. At this point, I cannot.

Here are NH March 30th updates to the Neighborhood House community:

Neighborhood House’s Educational

· Our Early Childhood Program Manager Phan Sanford has worked with our Early Head Start Partner Next Door to continue baby food and diaper distribution to EHS families during the pandemic

· As we plan for 100% of our teachers and program team members to return to Neighborhood House, knowing they are central to our top-ranked educational work, in fact, we are even fulfilling new NH teacher sign-on bonus commitments during this temporary closure period

· We have offered our families in-home educational and activities suggestions on the NH social media platforms (see the P.S. for new examples, please!)

· Our International Learning Program management continues to work with our refugee partners to plan for continuance and re-start options


· NH land stewardship staff have continued limited work at the NH Nature Center to plan for late spring and summer activities, as well as our new Maple Sugar Shack and trail bridge projects

· The critters in our Science Room and the Gray Squirrel Room continue to receive loving care

· NH has taken advantage of the NH down-time empty dumpsters to remove neighborhood trash from nearby empty homes and to remove excess materials from our own storage areas and grounds

· NH continues to work with potential funders of our 2020 75th Anniversary Loop Drive and Lobby Project

· NH has secured volunteers for a complete re-sanitization of all NH program areas once a re-open date is planned

NH Food Pantry Planning:

Given the closure of the nearby Central City Churches food pantry in February, NH was approached to create replacement NH Food Pantry and is now planning for that potential new effort, including:

·  Creation of food pantry planning documents

· Working with Hunger Task Force on new equipment donations

· Already securing $22,000 in initial funding commitments to-date in new start-up funding, and

· Making needed facility changes to the NH Family Lounge kitchen to possibly accommodate 3 new freezers/refrigerators

NH Event and Activity Plans:

· NH was to be honored at the 2020 MANDI Awards at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino on April 2nd.  LISC, the sponsoring organization, has postponed that Award dinner and a late summer date is likely.

· Our Annual NH Golf Open has already been moved from June 2nd to August 31st. The new dates are confirmed with Presenting Sponsor Pyramax Bank (thank you, Pyramax President Rick Hurd!), with Bristlecone Country Club, and our dedicated host and WISN 12 Chief Meteorologist Mark Baden.

· Our 75th NH Anniversary Gala plans for November 12th at Discovery World continue to evolve.  Our 75th Anniversary Gala Committee convened it first meeting by conference call on March 26th, Plum Media is working on a 75th Anniversary video, and a 75th Anniversary history book has been written and is in the editing stage

The COVID-19 pandemic is a continuously-evolving situation. We are monitoring news and will provide updates with reports like these and on our social media sites. You might have already noticed that we have been adding family resource links to our NH sites since the temporary closure. We will continue to do that:

Our plan-ful reactions to the COVID 19 outbreak insures that NH will remain strong and financially viable for another 75 years. We remain focused on the long-range goal of reopening NH as strongly, and as quickly, as safety allows.

Please be safe, be cautious, and conserve your family’s resources. I look forward to greeting you at our front doors again.

Best regards,

Jeff Martinka

cell 414-477-1156 or

P.S.  Here are links to some additional ideas for home activities and community resources for homebound parents and caregivers (click on the links in blue below:

Second Step In-Home Learning Programs for parents and caregivers with children of all ages:

Yoga Videos by Preschool Inspirations offers a broad variety of proven programs and approaches for preschoolers

The Best Kid Yoga Videos – Preschool Inspirations

Hunger Task Force Food Pantry Map – offers constantly updated maps of area food pantries/food bank

Google Arts Museum Tours – offers parents and teens an easy way to visit museums all over the globe

Center for Disease Control COVID-19 Main Information Site – offers families daily-updated Corona Virus/COVID 19 info and resources

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