Fairfield, CT – In response to Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont’s recent “stay home, stay safe” directive, Woofgang & Co. has moved to distance learning. The Fairfield-based nonprofit provides free and essential vocational training and job skills development to young adults with disabilities after high school. Its new digital classroom is an important service for this underserved population, which has been deeply impacted by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
Working diligently with staff and special educators, Woofgang & Co. Executive Director, Erica Eng, has established video conferencing and a whole new digital curriculum aimed at developing customer service, math, social skills and more. Team Members gather virtually several times a week for learning sessions facilitated by trained Woofgang & Co. staff. The digital platform enables them to stay connected emotionally as well as educationally during a time of extreme anxiety and disruption.
“It’s imperative that Woofgang & Co. continue to provide vital programming to our Team of young adults at this time,” said Eng. “More than ever, familiar faces and routine offer some comfort to the challenges this virus and all of the accompanying melee has caused to their everyday lives.”
For individuals with disabilities and their families, the changes and uncertainty caused by the current global health crisis are severe. “Filling our son’s day with household chores and television isn’t enough,” said one area resident and mother. “We rely on Woofgang & Co. to help prevent deterioration of the important job skills our son has worked so hard to learn and to help him create a routine and structure to his day.”
Although no longer baking dog treats or serving customers at its retail store in downtown Fairfield, due to the forced government shutdown, Woofgang & Co. is continuing to process online orders through its website. Available products have been expanded and now include clothing, hostess gifts, gift cards and more. Proceeds from all sales fund the free vocational training services Woofgang & Co. provides to dozens of area young adults and their families.
In addition to shopping the website for two- and four-footed-friends, Eng encourages area residents to support Woofgang & Co. in other meaningful ways. “We hope people will follow us on Facebook and Instagram and ‘like’ and ‘share’ our posts,” she says.” Helping us spread the word about the importance of continuing education for young adults with disabilities is so important. We show people what it means to be ABLE, and that message is an uplifting one.”
Woofgang & Co. also requires strong community support financially, especially during this difficult and uncertain time. Donations can be made through the organization’s website and will be used to help sustain operations, along with the ongoing build-out of new kitchen space in downtown Bridgeport.
Woofgang & Co. was founded in 2017 and serves families living throughout Fairfield County. The organization’s mission is to provide free vocational training and job skills development to young adults with disabilities, while educating the community about the need for increased job opportunities for these individuals.