Who would have thought that at this point in 2020, we'd still be facing school closures and the pressures that come from working and managing increased responsibilities on the home front?
In Little Feet on the Street, we posed this question to a handful of Bend students, "If you could have one wish for your community, what would it be?" Alongside some very thoughtful answers, I wanted to add my own response: I wish we would put our children first as we assess the threat of the coronavirus and be willing, as a community, to take on some risk for their futures.
Children are little sponges, especially in the first seven years of their lives, soaking up and mimicking the attitudes of their parents. According to the American Institute of Stress, high levels of stress contribute significantly to health problems, both physical and mental. If we model courage, we not only send a message of safety to our children, we stand up for the next generation and their futures. It is my hope that schools will open; our fear of catching a virus that has a survival rate of 98.5% in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority, should take a back seat for the moment.
In these times, we need to bravely place our children's education and social growth at the top of our priority list. With the number of students on free and reduced lunches reaching as high as 64%, as reported by the Bend-LaPine district, schools are the only safety net for some of our most vulnerable youth. While you may say, "My kids are doing fine with distance learning," most are not. Many are not learning at all, with no internet service or access to healthy food and are rapidly falling through the cracks with no one to catch them.
As we enter the holiday months, families everywhere are anticipating a different look to the traditional celebrations with loved ones. Look for the silver linings. Without so many distractions pulling members outside the home, nuclear families are spending more time together as a whole, and the holidays are sure to be bring loved ones even closer.
Annette Benedetti shares some savvy ways to adapt the holidays, including social distancing and outdoor venues in Trending.
In Outdoors, Joshua Savage takes a deep dive into why children need to spend more time outside. Especially in the winter months, it can be challenging to leave the comforts of the home, but the rewards of fresh air and activity are infinite.
On a positive note, check out our Gift Guide this year! In a time when we routinely autopilot to Amazon for our every need, let's break the mold, leave the house and see what delights the senses at our local shops (See Feature).
For something a little different, in Kids in Action, Alyce Pearce introduces us to the local fencing scene (who knew?), where Central Oregon kids learn strategy and technique from some very dedicated mentors. En guard!
Guess what? The Deschutes Public Library is back in action and ready for you to come browse, check out books and more! If it's been a while, you'll be amazed that print books are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to resources for the whole family. Check out our Q & A with Youth Services Supervisor, Chandra vanEijnsbergen in Community.
And, it just wouldn't be the holidays without some sugar and spice! Nancy Patterson treats us to a yummy apple muffin recipe in Family Time - perfect for little hands.
Wishing you peace, hope and a safe holiday season.