A Community Message (March 19)

Canopy Children’s Solutions (Canopy) has a 108-year history of rising to meet the challenge of the most vexing crisis moments facing Mississippi’s children and families.  Now, we are all experiencing an unprecedented time as Mississippians and as citizens of the world, these are the moments when we must all (and especially the mission-driven heroes at Canopy) shine! From the worst natural disaster in US history (Hurricane Katrina) to the worst man-made disaster in US history (BP Oil Spill), Mississippians and the Canopy team have stepped up to provide hope and healing when our friends, neighbors and community need us most.  Today, I am humbled to witness the same outpouring of love and compassion by our staff, providing hope and healing to our kids and families across the state.

Guiding our compassion are Canopy’s Core Values:

  • The voice of our children and families always comes first.
  • Relationships matter.
  • We take great joy in service to others.
  • Our families and our communities deserve our very best.

As the fears and anxiety of COVID-19 are on the rise, our commitment to our mission and values has never been more resolute.  We are keenly mindful that many of our children and families have strong trauma backgrounds and their anxieties are only exacerbated by the pandemic.  Now more than ever, we are committed to delivering life-changing solutions to help our kids and families move through and beyond this crisis.

During this unique time, Canopy has moved quickly over the last several weeks to protect staff, children, and families while we live out our mission of service.  As we thoughtfully consider how to manage this crisis moving forward, please know we remain committed to the children and families we serve and the amazing heroes serving them.  These times call for flexibility in our approach and we are in a constant state of monitoring, planning and responding to our ever-changing environment.

Here are a few things you need to know.

  1. We will have treasured children on our residential treatment campus and in our shelter who are worried, anxious, and re-experiencing a lot of trauma. Our staff are standing with them, clinical work is continuing, and we are helping these precious children through these hard and scary times;
  2. Canopy staff are utilizing tele-health and phone calls for the families we serve across all 82 counties and working with them to make sure their basic needs – food, shelter, utilities – as well as their mental health needs and physical health needs (including access to medications) is sustained through this time; and
  3. Direct care staff and a limited team will be on site every day at Canopy’s 24-hour care locations.  Last year, Canopy began the process of equipping our staff to work remotely. And, staff that have not historically worked remotely are learning new ways to accomplish their individual and collective work.  We are connecting virtually rather than meeting face to face.
  4. Our COVID-19 Task Force and Executive Team are meeting twice a day and we remain in ongoing communication with our Board of Directors to provide real-time communication and assure rapid response and decision making as this dynamic crisis unfolds.

What does Canopy need to meet the needs of Mississippi during COVID-19?

We need our State leadership (legislature and State agencies) to ensure that organizations like Canopy can work effectively at this time.  As the President and Governor have said, a priority must be placed on healthcare providers delivering critical services to those in need.  Certainly, this must include mental health.  We are working with the leaders of our state and county government to request that payment for services are rapid and efficient and that organizations like Canopy are supported when cash flow will be variable.  Furthermore, we need to prioritize access to food, medical supplies, and medication to our state’s most vulnerable populations so families can continue to heal, adapt and thrive once this crisis passes.

During these uncertain times, I want to express a heartfelt thank you for your fervent prayers and faithful support.  This is a moment where we can rise up to respond with love, support and kindness as never before.  As we prepare for the number of families in crisis to rise during this unprecedented event, we know that we can’t do this work alone and your financial support will play a critical role in our being able to meet the needs of Mississippi families.  I urge you to please take a moment and learn more about supporting Canopy by visiting mycanopy.org/giving. Perhaps the easiest way to support our mission is by taking advantage of The Children’s Promise Act.  This unique opportunity allows Mississippians to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit (not a deduction) for up to $1,800.  Click here to learn how you can receive your tax credit.

Please know how immeasurably grateful I am for your dedication and commitment to supporting Canopy and the over 5,000 children we serve annually.  Together, we will create a brighter future for each other and the children of Mississippi!

All the best,
John