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Avanade parents get creative with their kids during COVID-19 pandemic

  • Posted on May 25, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

In the best of times, parenting is a challenge that requires patience, creativity and no shortage of endurance. During a pandemic, that challenge is multiplied by new constraints and worries. From a lack of childcare to talking through the disappointment of canceled graduation ceremonies, COVID-19 has presented parenting struggles many never imagined.

But it has also presented opportunities. Working within new limitations, Avanade parents have gotten innovative with their families. Infrastructure Manager Isaac Clay has an 18-year-old son, Braedan, who will be attending the University of Washington for engineering in the fall. After an internship at Boeing last summer, Isaac got Braedan a 3D printer for Christmas, which they realized they could use to print PPE gear for local hospitals.

“Besides being able to use the printer and learn more about how it works, we felt that it was no longer a sophisticated toy. We could print with a purpose,” Isaac said. “I’m blessed with a position at Avanade to be able to fully meet the needs of my team while working from home. I don’t know the fears and dangers that the hospital staff have to endure daily to help the community. They are putting themselves and their own families at risk to make sure that the rest of us can go about our lives without the fear of not having a place to go if we fall ill. If we could do something, however small, to help keep them safe in the least little bit, then we have an obligation to do so.”

Though Isaac was excited to encourage Braedan’s engineering interest through this project, he said it actually accomplished much more than that.

“I think his way of thinking has grown from the kind, generous kid he was into more of an adult, caring perspective in life,” he explained. “He feels more obligation to help when he has the ability to do so. He can see nurses in and out of our area wearing 3D printed face shields mounted on frames like the ones we are making. Having to finish his senior year in high school from home is not what he wanted, but having the free time to work on helping others in our community is making that just a little more bearable for him.”

With younger children, Applications and Infrastructure Manager Timur Bulutcu had to explain that social distancing measures made it impossible for his family to visit the playground down the street from their house. His 10- and 2-year-old both enjoy the park, as well as being out in nature and bird watching. To improve life in quarantine, Timur decided to bring some of what they love to their own backyard.

“I ordered and built a swing set for the kids in the backyard so they can enjoy ‘the park’ whenever they want,” Timur said. “We are spending a lot of time outside together in the afternoons, playing or watching the birds in our own bird feeder. We also planted strawberries as a family and have already eaten a few!”

 

Executive Bill Stineman’s family was lucky enough to take an early spring break trip before COVID-19 put the world in lockdown, but he felt bad as he watched his colleagues cancel their own trips in late March and April. After discussing it with his family, Bill and his kids decided to “bring spring break” to them virtually.

 

“Our Midwest General Manager holds a daily call with his leadership team at 8:30 a.m. to review key updates and address issues, and he graciously allowed the Stinemans to manage the call for the week,” Bill explained. “Each morning, we surprised the team with a new destination. Over the course of the week, we took the team to Aspen to ski, on a Caribbean cruise, to Disney World and finally on a camping trip to West Virginia. The feedback was that the call was ‘the highlight of the day.’ There were plenty of laughs, and my kids enjoyed the chance roast marshmallows for breakfast.”

 

Though Avanade employees are no strangers to innovation, COVID-19 has given them the chance to bring that innovative spirit into their own homes and make the best of tough situations.

 

“It’s been helpful to stay positive and find ways to enjoy activities with loved ones,” Timur said. “These days are going to be over – stay at home, stay healthy and find ways to spend good time with family.”

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