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Keeping the Lights On

Keeping the Lights On

An Academy member shares the importance of staying connected.

When the Academy closed its doors back in March because of Covid-19, it could have easily impacted my mental health in a very bad way. Maybe we all expected the worst, but the news was scary and sad. The Academy is such a big part of my life, and a constant support for me. Especially during such a time of uncertainty, I need the connection to the Academy more than ever.

Not surprisingly, the staff managed to figure it out. Through online platforms like Slack and Zoom, our connection has been unbroken. Whenever I’ve needed to talk to somebody, Academy staff has been there for me. That’s a huge thing. I’ve called the culinary staff for recipes and cooking instruction countless times, and my home cooking has improved considerably because of them. I’ve accepted the challenge of creating a PowerPoint presentation for several of our Academy morning meetings, and have always been able to reach a staff member to help me figure it out and work patiently with me, just like they do when we are together in the building. As far as staying productive, I really haven’t missed a beat. This pandemic could have really set me back, both in my mental health as well as my work skills. But instead, we found solutions together as we continue to collaborate and keep the Academy going strong.

Right before the pandemic affected all of our lives, I was offered, and accepted, a Transitional Employment opportunity at Sunset Cadillac. And then of course that opportunity got placed on hold. I still don’t have an exact start date for the job, but I recently had a virtual Zoom meeting with the General Manager. He expressed his excitement at my eventual employment there, and his enthusiasm was a reminder that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. His positivity, just like the Academy staff’s positivity, goes a long way to help me remain hopeful for the future.

When the building went dark, the lights still shined brightly in the lives of all of us members who have been able to remain connected. It is a testament that the Academy is not an “it.” It’s the people that make it the special place that it is. – Rebecca Wolfson