CORA and COVID make peace

If you sincerely love and are faithful to the mission entrusted to you, then you can accomplish much good.  – St. Mary Euphrasia

 CORA and COVID are no longer at odds the way they were when the pandemic first struck. The Coronavirus pandemic has not dampened the efforts of CORA Services. Ten weeks into sheltering in place and social distancing, CORA’S activities may look different, but the mission has remained the same — to help families navigate challenging times. The CORA Can-Do spirit has made sure children and families experience care and compassion in more than 300 homes across the City of Philadelphia and its surrounding areas. Staff is staying connected to clients through digital technology and other meaningful ways.

Ask Me Anything

For example, every Wednesday, CORA’s Intensive Prevention Services Program (IPS) hosts a segment in a virtual group called “Ask Me Anything.” Each week, an exciting new guest joins the group for one hour, and CORA kids get the opportunity to literally ask the guest anything. Major league baseball center-fielder Albert Almora of the Chicago Cubs made a recent guest appearance. Other guests have included a Grammy Award-winning trombone player and world traveler, an expert rock climber, television sports reporter, and self-made artist from Philadelphia. 

IPS is an intervention program for youth ages 10 to 17 years old who exhibit at-risk behaviors. AnnMarie Schultz, President and CEO of CORA Services, said, “The kids really enjoy “Ask Me Anything” and the unique chance it gives them to meet inspiring and engaging virtual visitors from around the country.”

CORA and COVID and community needs

CORA and COVID are mentioned together frequently in these days of the pandemic.  To meet the needs that have arisen during COVID-19, CORA Services has created a new service to give parents and other caretakers direct access to CORA’s counselors, educators, case managers and other professional staff.  The service is open to any members of the community in need of guidance. CORA Services also provides a host of online programs and classes during COVID-19, such as support to adolescents in recovery, drug and alcohol counseling to youth and families, and pregnant and parenting supports. 

CORA is also conducting virtual after-school programs. The agency’s Facebook page provides an additional way to connect to events and educational activities for people of all ages. 

“From taking a Virtual Reality 360 swim with a sea turtle, to teaching children how to add and subtract, we’ve thought of it all for our community,” said AnnMarie. 

CORA and COVIDWhile CORA and COVID are linked these days, don’t let it be said that CORA Services doesn’t know how to have fun. CORA held a drive-by parade recently for Early Years Fox Chase families. All of the teachers lined up outside of the building to greet students as they rode by in cars. Teachers held handmade signs and banners that carried greetings and positive messages to their Early Years pupils. The teachers cheered, clapped and called out with gusto to their young students as the children slowly rode past them in honking cars. 

In turn, children waved, laughed and hollered to their teachers while holding cheery messages up for the teachers to read. While the children and teachers at all of the CORA sites have explored new ways of learning together online, the teachers say nothing beats seeing the smiling faces of children in person.

CORA Services is a ministry of Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America.



Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette McDermott

Jeanette is the Communications Coordinator for Sisters of the Good Shepherd Province of Mid-North America. She is a career photojournalist who has served in various capacities of print, broadcast, and corporate communications. Jeanette is devoted to creation and is particularly focused on saving pollinators and other wildlife species and their habitat. She is an ethical vegan and created the website