Over the last few weeks, it has become easy to get bogged down, stressed or even mentally exhausted by the coverage of COVID-19. Staying informed during this time is essential, but it can be easy to lose sight of all of the good things that are happening during this unusual time. Our Associates make an impact every single day by living our mission of improving the health of our clients business and making the lives of those we work with better, but their unique talents and strengths have shown through especially bright during the last few weeks of this pandemic. Here are a few ways our team has made the lives of those around them better during COVID-19.
Staying Connected During COVID-19
In order to keep their children’s education and friendships with classmates a priority during this time, Jordan Edison and Jennifer South created a virtual pen pal program through Tara Heights Elementary in Papillion. South has a six-year-old son named Blaine and Edison has 6 year-old twins, Scarlett and Beau.
“Jordan and I are best friends and we decided a long time ago that it would be fun if our kids grew up together. So when the virus happened and schools were closing we were obviously sad that our kids could not socialize or see each other every day,” South said. “Jordan reached out to me about being able to have a creative way to keep the kids in contact and we came up with doing a virtual pen pal program, mainly to keep it fun, but also to not have to send a physical piece of paper that could have germs through the mail.”
Edison and South both thought this would be the perfect way to not only keep their kids in contact with their classmates from a safe distance, but they would also be able to practice important writing, reading and word recognition skills that they would be otherwise learning in the classroom.
“In kindergarten, they are learning to read and write and they have site words that they learn. We thought what a great way for them to practice their writing when they send it out and then reading when they get those letters in their email. They are also encouraged to draw pictures as well if they would like,” South said.
The pen pal program is organized by each child involved being assigned a number. Each Tuesday, child #1 will write to child #2. Then on Friday, child #2 will write back to child #1. Each week a child writes to the next one on the list and so on. Since the launch of this virtual pen pal program, 40 out of the 50 kids that are in the kindergarten classes at Tara Heights are now involved in the program.
“I am very proud that we have 40 participants. It’s a lot to juggle sometimes as we are all busy and may miss a letter here or there, but it’s so worth it,” Edison said.
Both Edison and South feel that this program has made a huge impact not just on their kids, but on the three different classrooms that are involved.
“This program has brought our three classes together. They are writing to kids they don’t know and learning different things about each kid and making new friends and catching up with old friends. We can really see how much each kid misses everyone and school,” South said. “We get to see how creative each kid can be and stay in touch during this hard time. They look forward to getting their letters every week. The teachers have each expressed their excitement for this as well.”
“I try to remind my twins that not every kid who is home has a built in best friend to hang out with and that these letters make this time not feel so alone. We were taking a walk the other day and found a new neighbor who was in our kindergarten class who happened to be writing to my son that week,” Edison said. “While we couldn’t go up and talk to them and play, she wrote about how excited she was to see Beau. Her mom then reached out about living nearby. So it’s not only developing relationships for our kids, but opening that window for parents to bond through this difficult time and build relationships with parents they may be seeing for the next 12 years.”
Utilizing Your Strengths to Make an Impact
With the swift onset of COVID-19, many were left trying to figure out how to best prepare themselves, their families and their communities for whatever may lie ahead. Suzanne Motta, Chief Administrative Officer at Signature Performance, was no different. She quickly utilized her top strength of responsibility and got to work. For the last few weeks, Motta has been making homemade masks for family members who work in the healthcare industry.
“I started making masks and scrub caps because my sister-in-law, Christina, is a nurse. She specializes in IV placement and has contact with the sickest patients in the hospital. She commented that there was a shortage of PPE and she was reusing masks,” Motta said.
Making masks and scrub caps is a unique skill that Motta has utilized before with her background in clinical medicine.
“I used to make them for the people on our operating room team. People would pick fabrics they liked, and it created a more cheerful environment. Because many of our patients were children, this was especially fun. Imagine how fun a doctor with a Taz (Tasmanian Devil) scrub cap is to a 7-year-old,” Motta said.
Motta has known how to sew since she was a young girl because her mother was a dressmaker. It only takes Motta roughly 10 minutes to make a mask from start to finish and has sewn so many that she has lost count. The masks she has sewn have not only been passed out to her family, but also to a local hospital.
“I had to stop for a bit because elastic was so hard to find, but I got a whole bunch from Michelle Simet, Scott’s wife, who has an online company that stocks sewing supplies. So, I am back in business now,” Motta said.
During the creation process of constructing these masks, Motta believes that the biggest impact being made is on herself.
“I think the biggest impact is on me. Responsibility is my #1 strength. I have to do something in any situation. I always look for the action item. This is a small thing, but it is something that gives purpose to staying home,” Motta said. “My mom is 85 and she ramped up her sewing room to make masks as well. I believe that it is the actions of the people and the business community in this country that will pave the way through these days. Many talk about it, but it is those who are doing, those that are focused on going forward and those that are focused on how they can impact others, that will shape a new vision of the future. If everyone does something, one small thing, the collective movement forward will be unstoppable.”
Stephanie Hyland is the Brand Experience Strategist at Signature Performance Inc., in Omaha, NE. Signature Performance is an industry leader in reducing healthcare administration costs for private and public healthcare sectors. Our unmatched experience in serving both the payer and provider side of healthcare financial management allows us to implement innovative solutions for every administrative demand.