Providing ACCESS to Safe Spaces: Innovative Community Building During Pandemic & Uprisings

It is safe to say, like many of you probably have, that 2020 was an intense year. With the global pandemic and social justice uprisings, many of our community members were abruptly forced to physically disconnect with the resources and safety that our agency provides.

The one thing that makes Access so unique is that we operate based on human centered design. This means that our community is at the heart of everything and we work to ensure that everything is easily accessible, personalized, and filled with empathy. After 51 years of service, we have never had to pivot the way required this past year. We found ourselves sitting with the challenges of how to maintain our personalized touch. To guide us, we explored the following questions:

  1. How do we continue our services virtually?

  2. How do we effectively communicate and engage with our community?

  3. How do we provide mental health support and resources during these unprecedented times?

  4. How do we continue to highlight and foster our partnerships?

  5. How do we virtually maintain the personalized and trauma informed service delivery?

  6. How do we engage our community in critical conversations and build advocates who will support our mission?

Birthed from these questions, was ACCESS SAFE SPACES. Safe Spaces are monthly topic specific virtual gatherings that allow our community members to connect with each other, share their current struggles and wisdom, meet and receive reputable resources from the community. These Safe Spaces have taught us how critical it is for our community to gather safely and have their voice heard. It has also taught us that the relationships we have built over 51 years are still valued and felt from a distance.

Here is a snapshot of some of the safe spaces we have held:

We are have already have a great line up for the new year:

If interested in attending one of our upcoming Safe Spaces, contact Carolyne Ouya 858-560-0871 Ext 131