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Caring for ourselves while serving others: self-care during the pandemic

In the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, the dedicated staff at A Place Called Home remain committed to our mission of serving South Central youth and families in need. While we’re temporarily away from our physical campus, we have worked hard to create a “virtual campus” to deliver our vital programs and services to our members online and by phone. 

At APCH, our programs focus on the whole person: mind, body and spirit. In an effort to “practice what we preach”  we asked the APCH staff to practice self-care while working remotely, and in an effort to keep us all connected, share their self-care tips, fun activities, and strategies for staying connected while practicing social distancing. Here is what they shared!


“I start out everyday (even on Sundays) with some exercise and a quick meditation. It helps me feel grounded and remain positive about the future. If my dogs are up to it, I like to introduce them on a Google chat which makes people smile and laugh, which in turn makes me smile and laugh. The sillier the better! You have to keep laughing!”

Jewel Delegall

Senior Director of Programs


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“I have been able to take long, daily walks because there is no lost time with a commute anymore. Also, I have been able to slow down enough to literally smell the roses during these walks, taking in the fresh air and noticing nature I wasn’t able to before because of the lack of time I had after work. I am able to take my walk while the sun is still shining!”

Ollin Balderas

Music Department Coordinator



DSC09819“Since I’m sitting at home all day, eating all day and following the #stayathome rule, my husband and I have decided to do some fun cardio with our daughter through DDR (Dance Dance Revolution, a dance game on the Playstation)! I get to spend some fun quality active time with my family while breaking a sweat!”

Melody Hernandez

HR Coordinator


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“It’s been awesome to witness how the APCH staff community is adapting to this dramatic reality shift, and I can’t wait to get our programs out to the kids via the new web platform we’re building! Seeing each other’s faces on screen is reassuring, and it’s also been kinda fun to get a glimpse of colleagues’ home environments, with the occasional spouse or pet wandering on camera.

Also, and I imagine others are having a similar experience…my wife and I are beginning to spend more regularly scheduled time ‘with’ friends and family via video chats, Zoom happy hours, and watching movies ‘together.’ We are even ‘going to’ choir practice on Zoom! So…strange as it may seem, since being confined to our home our social life has actually picked up!”

Jonathan Zeichner

Executive Director


Laura Mills

“My main tip and coping strategy is to eat good food! I was fortunate to stock up at the store a couple of weeks ago and am now playing ‘Chopped Kitchen,’ mixing and matching the stuff I got.

I appreciate that I have time to cook more, which is great since it’s also my main stress relief. Do what brings you joy!”

Laura Mills

Associate Director of Development




Lauras cooking

Laura cooked buffalo shrimp with ranch sauce over sweet potato, spinach, and bacon hash for dinner, and dark chocolate, peanut butter, and banana brownies with Hershey Nugget inserts for dessert.

Jahcobie Cosom

“I had the opportunity to watch fantastic bands through IG Live including a special band #Brainstory through APCH partner Levitt LA’s Instagram. I’m so thankful to see so many arts organizations and artists in my network come together to support each other. The arts keep human connection alive and it’s imperative we come together.”

Jahcobie Cosom

Digital Media Aide




IMG_2641crop“I am making a point to go for a walk around the block with my husband daily, as part of self-care. Getting outside in the sun makes a big difference!”

Julie Poulos Sims

Director of Operations





Taryn Burks“I recently tuned in to an epic virtual dance party on Instagram Live. DJ D-Nice hosted an eight-hour party, known as ‘Club Quarantine,’ with the likes of Michelle Obama, Stevie Wonder, Bernie Sanders, Ellen Degeneres, Kelly Rowland, Joe Biden and Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few, joining in. Where else would you party with all these people?? At the height of the party, 100,000 people were tuned in. It was the comments from everyone participating, though, that really made the experience (they’re very entertaining)! This was just one example of how people are getting creative and using social media to bring people together amidst a global crisis for a fun, borderless, uplifting experience.

By the way, if you missed D-Nice’s parties, I’m sure he plans to announce more parties in the coming weeks. Check it out, it’ll definitely bring a smile to your face! IG: @dnice.”

Taryn Burks

Communications & Marketing Manager


20190510_APCA_SELECTS0151“Rituals and routines are key for me! I brought an APCH heart stone with me and set it up in my home workstation. I’ve made it a ritual to touch the stone as I set my intention for the day and again as I check-out for the day. It helps ground me in the mission of our work every morning and also helps with setting home/work boundaries.”

Marcee Dela Cruz

Program Lead – Teen & Young Adult Services


Ann Stacy

“As a lifelong lover of Halloween and themed parties, and a former sketch comedy creator, I’ve acquired a fairly robust collection of costumes and wigs through the years. Some may say this ol’ heap of fringed vests and faux mullets is a prime candidate for spring cleaning. But I say nay. It’s the perfect ingredient to add a little spice to virtual hangouts with friends and family. Because if one really wants to sell that stock beach background photo in a Zoom conferencing session, one most certainly needs a Hawaiian shirt, straw hat and oversized shades to seal the deal. Piña colada is optional. Copious laughter is necessary.

My nephews, who live across the country, are in the process of tearing through the ‘Harry Potter’ series. Thrilled that they are falling in love with the tales of Harry, Hermione and Ron’s adventures (as I did many years ago), I’ve had a blast hearing their plot and character analysis, seeing creations from their ‘Harry Potter’-themed art sessions, and receiving updates about the houses into which they’ve been sorted. We’ve also developed a remote ‘Harry Potter’-themed ‘game show’ of sorts, where I present ‘Harry Potter’ trivia questions and creative challenges for the boys to complete. TBD: What sort of exciting virtual prize I can present to them remotely… If anyone has the contact info for Alex Trebek or Pat Sajak, please let me know.”

Ann Stacy

Volunteer Manager


Ramon Sanchez“I have been taking this quarantine time to hang out with my dogs at home and do a little bit of spring cleaning along the way. With more free time, I was able to catch up with chores that I have been delaying for quite some time. I am also planning to start some projects using wood pallets.

The biggest highlight so far is that I too held a live DJ set online to lighten everyone’s mood. I had great feedback — many have requested that I go live every weekend.” 

Ramon Sanchez

Athletics Program Lead


Vanessa Bell 2“Each morning, the first thing my son Max and I do is open up all of the curtains to let the brightness of the day flood into our cozy home. We have found that the sunlight helps us to start our day in a positive way. All of our windows have lovely views of trees or the San Gabriel Mountains except one, it looks out to a grey cinder block wall. So, my family decided to decorate that wall so that all of our windows had beautiful things outside of them. We spent an afternoon drawing with chalk on the wall as a family. Now each time that we look out that window we still see ‘paradise’.”

Vanessa Bell

Visual Art Program Coordinator



Vanessa’s family created a mini paradise on a wall outside their home.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can support A Place Called Home’s transformative youth programs, please contact [email protected].

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