There have been a lot of scenarios of companies and organizations pivoting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Westminster is no different. Forced to close public facilities, many city staff were left without work. However, through teamwork and resourcefulness, 25 Parks, Rec & Libraries (PRL) employees were able to log some hours, use their skills for a great cause, and learn about a different aspect of the city — businesses.
The Economic Development Department created the Care Calls Program in order to reach out to the thousands of Westminster businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus. The PRL employees trained as Care Call Ambassadors, and were tasked with 15 daily calls, for approximately ten days. The purpose of their calls was to:
- To ensure the City has current contact information for the business, in order to provide important resource information in the coming weeks
- To inquire about any immediate needs they may have, and pass those inquiries along to the appropriate staff for follow-up
Care Call Ambassadors participated in a brief orientation and training session, and were provided a script. Ambassadors were there to listen, take notes and assure businesses that any concerns would be forwarded for resolution.
Brian Frank, Library Clerk II from the College Hill Library, shared his experience as a Care Call Ambassador:
Why did you sign up as an Ambassador?
Brian: When I saw the Care Calls opportunity, I was drawn to it because I consider myself to be a “helper” and my sense of empathy kicked in. I tried to put myself in the business owner’s respective shoes and imagined how difficult this period must be for them. At the same time, I found that the thought of helping others by participating in this outreach opportunity reduced my stress levels that I was experiencing at the time.
What was the overall feedback from the businesses, in regard to their current needs:
Brian: The top themes right now that we are hearing from the businesses is: loss of business/revenue; generating new business; maintaining current customers; trying to support their staff; and difficulties communicating with organizations during the loan process.
What did you learn from this experience?
Brian: That the City of Westminster rocks. We truly have amazing people here…not just staff… people. We are caring and compassionate people who can achieve just about anything when we come together and work together with purpose.