Even in the most difficult of times, Americans demonstrate their resilience – some through acts of kindness or personal courage and others through unexpected creativity.
COVID-19 is straining everyone – physically and emotionally. But it also is pushing many to think beyond what was – until very recently – business as usual. It is requiring us all to get creative. We at Sandy Hillman Communications are seeing that every day in ourselves and in our clients.
Erickson Living, which manages senior living communities across the country, jumped into high gear using technology to make sure its residents maintain a rich quality of life. Impressively, they are delivering three healthy meals every day to every door. So grocery shopping or meal concerns are totally eliminated. But the creativity comes in when you look at how they are enabling seniors to use technology to remain engaged and energized. Yoga and exercise lessons continue virtually. Online, clubs meetings are taking place uninterrupted. Within the confines of each apartment, seniors are able to continue to enjoy life, and not feel isolated. They can access streamed educational lectures, “attend” church, and play along with game shows on community TV. All of this and more so they can stay in without feeling shut in.
The National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City and the Maryland Historical Society both have interesting roles to play during this time – unprecedented for us living through it, but not historically. The National WWI Museum and Memorial is offering virtual Museum tours through Google Arts as well as online seminars and lectures about the connections between the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the situation in today’s world. Additionally, they offer free curriculum ideas, lesson plans and other resources to educators nationwide to assist in teaching the enduring impact of the Great War.
The Maryland Historical Society is inviting Marylanders to share their current experiences via their new crowd-sourcing initiative, “Collecting in Quarantine.” The genesis for establishing this online opportunity to share stories about life today was the Society’s rich archive of historical journals and letters. All very personal. All giving the reader a sense of history in a time long gone, but eerily familiar. There’s the frightened 15-year-old who lived near Gettysburg and could hear and smell the fighting. And the Spanish American War soldier in solitary confinement, suffering from the flu and fearing for his life. Current stories talk about keeping organizations that care for animals going, and what it’s like to shop for groceries in this new normal. Details on how to submit can be found on the Historical Society’s website at www.mdhs.org
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida is staying true to its education mission by bringing daily live and taped content to the public as a way to stay engaged with their community. They are also hosting coloring contests and other interactive events on their social media channels for kids of all ages to assist parents in keeping kids inspired and occupied while at home.
On the volunteer front, while people can’t congregate in large numbers they are figuring out creative ways to help…offering to help man phone lines, package food, and check in with elderly. In addition to the services provided by the 211 Maryland United Way Helpline, United Way of Central Maryland has created a resource including volunteer opportunities – and activities that can be done at home with the whole family – as well as the COVID-19 Community Fund, which will be used to support the needs most reported to the organization. Currently, nearly 40 percent of the increased call volume to 211 has been about the need for food.
Colleges are offering courses online from professors who were out of reach for many of us. Art Museums are giving daily talks about their collections. Technology is being called on for its highest and best use — to keep us all sane and connected.
As my mother used to tell me, sometimes the worst brings out the best. I remain optimistic and hopeful. Stay safe. Stay home! Be creative.