COVID-19, Its Impact, and Our Work
In March 2020, BridgesTN and BridgesWEST closed our physical offices and began working remotely. Thanks to planning that started in late February, this change did not interrupt any of our programs and services. In addition to being able to continue all our programs virtually, we added new tools and services from interpreting to education to website updates. Our staff has been extraordinarily committed, and our community has been incredibly supportive. We are proud to share how COVID-19 shaped and continues to share our work.
Since March 2020 (with tornadoes in Nashville and COVID-19 statewide), BridgesTN and BridgesWEST have interpreted daily briefings from Governor Lee, Mayor Cooper (Nashville), Mayor Harris (Shelby County), and Mayor Strickland (Memphis) as well as TEMA and public health departments. We educated elected officials and news directors about creating access and working with interpreters as well as providing captions and transcripts.
We created videos to share important announcements about programs, services, and office hours, and we created videos to make information about COVID-19 accessible to our community. Click the button to see more videos.
We created a COVID-19 communication card that our community could use in clinics, hospitals, and testing sites where interpreters might not be immediately available. Click the button to visit our website where you can download a copy.
We recruited volunteers to make clear masks so that communication remains accessible while our community is safe and following guidelines. We gave away masks for free to our community, and we now also sell masks. Click the button to learn more.
We created resource lists with links for additional assistance individuals might need--financial assistance programs, food pantries, job assistance, unemployment assistance, applying for PPP funds, stimulus checks, etc--by state and county. These resources are difficult to understand and to navigate because information was not available in ASL, so we shared resources with the community, provided direct assistance in navigating applications and systems, and advocated for equal access. In addition, we made provided some direct financial assistance to our community and continued, as you will see, to provide our Empowerment program. Click if you would like to visit this resource page.
We also created resource lists for with links for contract interpreters who lost a lot of work due to COVID-19. We provided similar but more specific information about additional assistance individuals might need--financial assistance programs, food pantries, job assistance, unemployment assistance, applying for PPP funds, stimulus checks, etc--by state and county. We also made our Empowerment program services available to contract interpreters during this time. Click if you would like to visit this resource page.
Despite financial challenges created by COVID-19, as you read about the outcomes in all our programs, know that all our programs and services have continued virtually. Interpreting Services has worked both virtually and for onsite appointments. In this new, virtual world, we have been able to pilot new programs like one-on-one ASL classes and to follow one of our strategic goals to make programs and services more accessible virtually so that individuals and families across Middle and West Tennessee can easily access them. We never paused in serving our community, and we continue to develop new programming to meet identified needs. Thank you for your support that makes these programs and services possible!