Message from Michelle Yanche

Dear GSS –

I just wanted to take a moment to reach out to thank you for all you are doing to respond, in the spirit of our mission, in this unprecedented moment …  to the needs of participants, the communities in which we work, and our city.  Whether you are keeping one of our residences going, redeploying at a REC to help care for the children of health care workers and other essential staff (including our own colleagues), doing case contacts, or homework help, over the phone, internet or in person where that is still necessary, or helping keep all the “trains” running from wherever you are …. your work matters … now perhaps more than ever before.

I also want to name the reality, which you already know, that many New Yorkers – including some of our colleagues and participants – have begun to test positive and these numbers will increase in the coming days and weeks.  So far we have notified staff and participants in sites where someone has tested positive.  We know that increasingly it will become impossible to do so and we are continuing to seek guidance about whether tracking exposures or continued notifications even make sense at this point.  Government officials have already stated that all New Yorkers should now consider ourselves as having been exposed.

We are truly stepping into a space where we are facing the unknown.

This is where our role as the city’s essential workforce really matters.  We are needed and we will continue to serve, even when it is hard.  And it will be hard.  As some of us get sick, others will need to redeploy, and maybe redeploy again.  Keeping our residences staffed is a top priority and we are quickly moving into an “all hands on deck” situation.  There is no way around this.

We are doing everything possible to seek out sources of personal protective equipment, which is very challenging to come by, and we have had to ration what we do have.  We hope that this will change in the coming days.  Please… especially all those on the front lines… maintain as much personal space as possible (I know this is very challenging given the work we do!), wash hands as regularly as possible, and most of all avoid touching our faces.

Tomorrow, I plan to visit our colleagues who are redeployed at the REC at Boys & Girls High School and in the coming days I look forward to being with those of you working at other sites.  I cannot tell you enough how much your dedication to our participants, our mission and our work means – always, but especially now when it matters the most.

Take good care of yourselves and each other.


This is a quote that came in a daily email I receive… it really spoke to me today so I am sharing it with you:

Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror.  Just keep going, no feeling is final.   — RAINER MARIA RILKE


Michelle Yanche

Executive Director

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers, Chellz* (What does this mean?)

Good Shepherd Services

305 Seventh Avenue, 9th Floor • New York, NY 10001

212 381 0255 • Mobile 917 576 9267  

*Name bestowed on me by our BRAG Cure Violence Team

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