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  • Writer's pictureAiysha Hall

How Creativity and a Village Saved Our Summer

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

When COVID-19 brought in person schooling to a screeching halt in mid-March, and by May had crushed any hopes of my kids returning to finish out the school year, I knew we were in for a different kind of summer. The vacation that we'd planned and saved up for wasn't happening, and neither was summer camp -- our default and only option as working parents with no immediate family in the entire state to look after our kids. So what were we going to do? While both my husband's and my job transitioned from in person to remote, the fact remained that we were still responsible for putting in 40 hours every week and keeping three kids occupied. We were in serious need of a plan.

It takes a Village

I'm no stranger to being home with three kids for an entire summer, but doing it while working full-time? This was new territory that was going to require the patience of Job and a Village -- the ENTIRE VILLAGE. You know the one I'm talking about -- the proverbial Village it takes to raise a child. Having the help of our Village was going to be the key to successfully navigating our new summer. Fortunately, our Village was ready for the undertaking. What started out as a brainstorming session with a friend, turned into a full-blown 8-week virtual summer camp led by a team of moms and dads who were simply looking for a way to keep our kids engaged and excited about summer, while keeping them safe from a pandemic that showed no signs of slowing down.

Creatively conquering the Summer of COVID-19

For roughly 45 minutes to an hour Monday through Thursday, our four-family Village became a virtual classroom where our children (preschool to middle school) engaged in everything from STEM activities and arts and crafts to cooking and live, hands-on demonstrations.

Much to our surprise (and relief), our kids looked forward to their daily sessions. Each one gave them the chance to interact with friends -- something they hadn't done since March -- but also kept them excited about learning. They were exposed to the concepts of buoyancy, chemical reactions, and aerodynamics, subjects in which none of us qualified as subject matter experts, yet, collectively and with a little bit of creativity, we made it work.

As we press our way through virtual learning, continue working remotely or on the front lines, both a Village and creativity will be necessities in the months ahead. This pandemic has proven to be a force that we cannot tackle alone. In the days and weeks to come, we are going to need one another more and more. Let's commit to being part of someone else's Village, and commit to using our gifts and talents to help one another thrive in the face of challenges.

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