Sheltered Diaries: Grateful For The Essentials

As we work to produce the next issues of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, one of the best parts of my job this week has been writing about the ways we’re all being kind to each other, and expressing gratitude.

Tonight, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is asking all of us to give the people that are keeping everything going – first responders, medical professionals, people that stock and run our grocery stores, etc. – a big ovation. At 7 p.m., head out your front door and give a cheer.

But I’d also be remiss if I didn’t talk about all the people that are keeping our kids engaged and learning – and in some cases, fed. For instance, the Dallas ISD food and nutrition workers who are responsible for making sure thousands of students have food to eat each week, despite the school closures.

Their feat has been so impressive that the workers were featured on the cover of Time.

But I also think we can appreciate our teachers, who are busy not only creating lessons, but lifting spirits of students who miss their friends and routines.

Today, Tiny’s teacher actually drove around dropping off little care packages for each of her students. Standing a good 10 feet away, she chatted with him for a while after dropping her package off in the driveway, and it did so much for his morale today.

And twice a week, two of his teachers are helping him grasp harder concepts one-on-one. His art teacher is leading art lessons in Zoom twice a week as well.

And nothing right now can beat the sound of 20 extremely happy third-graders greeting each other on their weekly Zoom call designed to be both a check-in and a social half-hour.

And then there’s this Solar Prep for Girls teacher, who helped organize a car parade for a student who was celebrating a birthday.

And if you want to see something amazing, check out the hashtags #COVIDCantStopUS and #COVIDCantStopUs, where people are pledging their monetary support for a drive to make sure every Dallas ISD student has access to internet and devices to continue their at-home learning before tagging a friend to continue the chain.

After all the days sequestered together and the uncertainty, one thing that always feels good is gratitude. So thank you to the essential workers who keep us running, and to everyone that realizes that doing our essential part by staying at home is keeping those workers  safer, too.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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