The words "Happy New Year" carry some extra power, promise and positivity this year. But let's not forget perspective! We all have a choice of how we view our given situations.
Many people are looking back at 2020 as the "worst year ever", a year of loss and overwhelming fear. Here at UCR we hope you choose to acknowledge the darker times and loves lost, but also see tremendous growth, gifts of our presence and cherishing the simplicity of what's important: air in our lungs, big warm hugs and relationships.
Early on, we held kindness competitions, smiled at our joke of the day contests, and learned way too much about zoomie roomies and virtual programs. We eagerly awaited our next "log in" meeting to see our friends and realized that we can wear "jammies on the bottom" and no one will know! Hey, "I think you're muted!"
We were blessed with thousands of masks (sort of accidentally) and shared our excess PPE with partnering organizations across the county/state, created custom UCR masks, discovered new resources and provided hope & love through gorgeous note cards created by our members. Our large group socials still met online! Our virtual Fun & Games Night, Halloween Howl and Holiday Party nearly busted our Zoom account which only holds 100 people! I thoroughly enjoyed trying to paint during our new Caregivers' Club Create & Sip nights and enjoyed the kindness of fellow parents who tell me my creations look good! LOL!
Our Community Partner Restaurants were recognized by many of our County Councilmembers, even while dining in was on the outs.
Through it all, always held out hope that this pandemic would be over sooner rather than later. As the weeks turned into months, we worked harder and worked more. We discovered new back pains, hip pains and acquired blue screen glasses... but always moving forward to help each other.
Some programs moved virtual while some moved to 1:1 in-person. Covid tests, quarantines and clorox kept us healthy to tackle each new day minute by minute, hour by hour. New funding opportunities arrived, we were able to pay our amazing staff thanks to the PPP funds and donations from our supportive family.
I hope you will join me when I choose to look back at 2020 by recognizing the hard parts but focusing on gratitude and growth. Covid + technology has brought the world together in new and exciting ways. We can attend programs, new opportunities and welcome friends from around the country.
Our family is growing and stretching to stay engaged with every one of you.
Choose to see hope. Choose to see growth. Choose to see love. It is all around us!
2021 will be the Year of the HUG!