As COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the country, many Americans are experiencing a mental health crisis too, especially healthcare and frontline workers. At East Boston Social Centers (the Social Centers), a nonprofit that provides afterschool programming, childcare, nutrition, and activities for the elderly, the staff were not exempt from the mental health toll of the pandemic.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) saw the opportunity to support them through its 10th annual Service Week in September 2020, a skills-based volunteering event in which 2,800 BCBSMA employees supported 70 nonprofits across Massachusetts. The volunteer team working with the Social Centers was tasked with addressing the critical challenge of how nonprofit managers can support the mental wellness of their teams in moments of crisis. After learning more about the Social Centers’ true needs and unique challenges, the BCBSMA volunteers developed new feedback, communication, and training frameworks to help leadership support staff during the pandemic and beyond.