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Miranda Valerio ’11

Miranda ValeroI co-manage Bella Vista, an affordable housing community for the elderly and disabled in New Haven, Connecticut. When the city of New Haven began preparations for COVID-19, we were immediately contacted because we house the densest population of high-risk people. The mayor requested a meeting with the heads of my property management company to discuss planning and protocols. It was a very scary meeting, I’m not going to lie, but I volunteered to be the primary contact between my property management company and the city for the duration of this pandemic, because it was the Clarkie thing to do.

In the weeks since this crisis has begun, I have attended countless meetings, made countless phone calls, and enacted emergency protocols that a mere two months ago I knew nothing about. I have had to shift gears from affordable housing compliance to emergency management in order to preserve the health and safety of more than 2,000 residents. I am directly coordinating with the City of New Haven for a wide variety of services for our community. These services include a mobile pantry to get residents free groceries delivered to their door, on-site COVID-19 testing, and distribution of PPE, so this vulnerable population never has to leave their homes.

Additionally, I am responsible for tracking and reporting to the city’s department of health the status and location of COVID-19 patients within the community in order to reduce the spread.

This whole ordeal has been exhausting and emotionally draining, but also one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I am proud to have been directly involved in the early and aggressive steps taken which have thankfully mitigated the effects of the pandemic and prevented disaster within our small community. As terrible and terrifying as all of this is, I can’t help but feel like I have been given an incredible opportunity to demonstrate some of the values my time at Clark has instilled in me. Being a part of a community means looking out for those who are most vulnerable. I am honored to be able to help protect and advocate for the residents of Bella Vista, as well as the people of New Haven.