Relationships Matter Now More Than Ever

Angela Jerabek

BARR is an organization committed to harnessing our strengths and building relationships. It is critical we support each other, especially in times of uncertainty.

During this time, we can take solace in the words of Fred Rogers, the creator and host of the television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

I am incredibly appreciative of the healthcare workers and researchers working around the clock seeking medical breakthroughs to prevent and cure this new disease; to the local communities, and governments around the world who are on the front line working to contain this virus; and all the individuals who are committed to caring for the physical and mental health of our residents.

During this unprecedented event of schools going online or closing, we recognize the corporations that have stepped up and are finding ways to contribute. For example the Zoom CEO Eric Yuan is giving K-12 Schools his video conferencing tools for free and there are many organizations helping with the food insecurities, locally as well as nationally.

How can we help?

One of the most comforting things during times of uncertainty is being connected to others. To feel cared for and not to feel alone. The necessary and critical measures of social distancing does not translate to not being in relationship.

Every time that we physically place space between ourselves and another we must consider ways how we might be of help to others and connect. While taking appropriate physical precautions of social distancing, I want us to be especially attentive to those young people who were often isolated at school and consider ways to have them feel cared about, even when the school is not in session. How can we reach out? How can they feel cared for? Call, text, send video chats, use every social media you can find with those in need of connection.

We also need to recognize that during this time, all of our schools are experiencing differing amounts of stress, depending on their unique circumstances. I ask that we support each other in community and reach out so no community, school or educator feels alone in this uncharted work.

Many of you have participated in the Rainbow in the Clouds I-Time. I would like us all to consider it now.

“When it looked like the sun wasn’t gonna shine anymore, God put a rainbow.”

Maya Angelou “Rainbow in the Clouds”

Angelou explains that she has had a lot of clouds, or difficult times, in her life, but that she also has had a lot of rainbows in the form of people who have helped her. The best way for us to prepare for experiencing rainbows, Angelou says, is to be a rainbow for someone else: “Be a blessing to somebody.”

We need to unite to give one another strength. Know that we are here. If it is not possible to be in person, we will be with you via telephone, email, text, conference calling and video conferencing to train, coach, support and learn with you. We will stay in relationship.

Be well and know that I am deeply inspired to work alongside all of you.

Angela Jerabek, Executive Director