10 Ways to Stay Connected and Engaged

April 24, 2020

Written by Juanita Fox

How are you spending your days? Living under a Stay-at-Home order requires patience and creativity! At Garden Spot Village residents are finding new ways to live with purpose, stay connected and engaged with their community all while following social distancing guidelines and wearing masks. We see our residents as heroes and hope you are inspired by their determination to stay connected!

Learn. Marie Diehl, an artist, discovered skillshare.com, an online community where you can learn new skills! She immediately signed up for the two-month trial. “It’s been wonderful,” Marie says, “I’ve been enjoying it so much.” She quickly lists the video tutorials she’s explored: pen and ink, watercolor painting, calligraphy and more. The opportunity to learn and re-learn new art forms has been life-giving and inspiring for Marie.

Accept a Challenge. Barb Baxter, a watercolor artist, accepted a 14-day Isolation Art Challenge on Facebook. She painted 13 paintings over the 14 days. The challenge offered her a connection to the outside world, a reason to stay motivated and a way to develop her art.

Volunteer. Marsha Dawson, who loves to volunteer, shows up in the Village Square every day at noon to help sort, pack and deliver orders from Good’s Store, Shady Maple and September Farms. Marsha says, “I’m not good cooped up in my apartment so I try volunteer where I can. If I can help somebody who can’t get out to buy groceries, I like to do that.”

Bake. Elaine Blakeslee loves to bake! She blesses the team members’ children in the temporary babysitting area in Wellness Department by baking cupcakes. Her cupcakes help them celebrate birthdays and other “holidays” throughout the week.

Work. Art Petrosemolo, a freelance newspaper writer for Lancaster Farming, Lancaster County weeklies and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, has been hard at work writing stories. Although his research has been a little more challenging and limited to phone calls, emails and online searches, Art is still hard at work, sharing the stories of people around Lancaster County. Art says, “I’m learning about a lot of new stuff from Heywood-Wakefield mid-century modern furniture to Burpee’s giant flower and vegetable seed operation. It’s never too late to learn something new!”

Share. Karen and Jack Morrow make a weekly trip to Giant Food Stores in Ephrata, taking advantage of the early morning shopping hour for older adults, following the store’s social distancing directions and wearing masks. Karen, realizing that some of her neighbors might be blessed by having her pick up a few items, invites her neighbors to drop off their grocery list the evening before she shops. Picking up items like coffee creamer, English muffins and fresh tomatoes makes a huge difference for her neighbors.

Study. Alan Dinning leads a small group within the larger Men’s Christian Fellowship. Because the group cannot meet during their regular time, they meet weekly via zoom to connect and pray with each other. Alan says, “The success with the technology is mixed because not everyone has a camera. But, it’s great to see each other and catch up on how others are doing.”

Accept a Challenge. Don Sutton and Janie Hutton accepted the Garden Spot Village Virtual Challenge! When Garden Spot’s Half Marathon & 10K went virtual in early March Don, who was already registered to compete, continued his training and completed his half marathon on Friday, May 27. Janie hadn’t considered the race because of other personal commitments, but the challenge of completing a 10K on her timetable and getting some great race swag was appealing. She accepted the challenge at the last minute and completed her 10K on Friday, April 3.

Exercise. Roger and Sue Eichlin appreciate the exercise videos the Wellness Department created for residents to use while the Wellness Department is closed. Sue says, “We do the videos in our garage – we enjoy them! We’ve done the line dancing video as well as Joanne’s Movin and Groovin and Mike’s Strength and Stretch Class.” While they prefer in-person classes, the online, on-demand videos help Roger and Sue stay active.

Volunteer. Tom Peck volunteers as frequently as he can. A normal week for him includes helping with audio-visual needs in the chapel, giving tours to prospective residents and singing with the Village Voices (and a number of the other vocal ensembles he participates in). His schedule is slower these days but he still volunteers—now he’s helping to screen team members and deliveries at Garden Spot’s screening tent. He says, “Staying engaged is a requirement for the journey right now.”

We are thankful for the creativity and the involvement of community that keeps us connected and growing, regardless of the situation in our world.

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