By Hannah Riney, Social Work Student Intern

I began an internship with Wildwood Programs back in September 2019, for my first year as a graduate social work student with the University at Albany. The plan was to intern twice a week until May 2020. In March, things changed due to the pandemic, and after my spring break, I learned my classes would be remote for the remainder of the semester and I was to complete as many internship hours as possible online. 

I was fortunate to have a fairly easy transition to an online format for my internship responsibilities with Wildwood. Luckily, I had the opportunity to stay connected with the individuals to whom I provide direct support. Rather than abruptly ending services, we were able to continue working together via Google Meet and over the phone. My supervisor, Michelle Singh, and I felt that it was important to continue supporting folks as we navigated the new and uncertain pandemic environment.

By Eric C. Sharer, MPH, RD, CDN Wildwood Dietitian & HEAL Committee Co-Chair

HEAL started in 2014 as an initiative to improve nutritional habits and increase physical activity for the students at the Wildwood School. Some of the HEAL accomplishments included creating a greenhouse at the school, starting a weekly running/walking club, and instilling a healthier culture within the school. 

In 2019, HEAL was able to expand its reach to all adults at Wildwood – including individuals that receive support as well as staff – thanks to a grant from CDPHP. The purpose of HEAL is to empower the Wildwood community to make choices and promote changes in their physical and social environment to improve nutrition and physical activity.

By Melinda Burns

 The dog days of summer were upon us: we were in the middle of summer, it was hot, we were keeping our social distance away from others – when…wow! Wildwood’s Health Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Committee gave us a unique opportunity: The Wildwood Walking Challenge. For the challenge, staff could walk individually or reach out to others to make up a team, set individual walking goals for the month, and find a destination based on the total mileage. It was perfect timing!   

In an effort to keep people as safe and healthy as possible, the Walk for Wildwood is making the move to being a virtual event in 2020. While the format has changed, the cause remains the same – people will be able to participate in this annual fundraising event at their own pace, and connect with the Wildwood community online.

By Bridget Kennedy, Business Development Liaison

We can all agree that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on us all. Like many of us, participants in Wildwood’s vocational and residential services suddenly had to shift their lives from being out in the community to staying at home. This created the need for new ways to connect with others, and interact with places that no longer could be safely accessed. It made us wonder: how would Wildwood fulfill a vision for community inclusion during a global pandemic? 


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