What Does “Virtual Service” Look Like?

Written by Fran Turner, Director of Civic and Global Engagement

I'm thinking a lot right now about what it means to be civically engaged in the face of a pandemic.  How can we stay connected with our communities when we’re socially distancing ourselves? As we’re holed up at home in front of our screens, some of us want --and need-- to feel that we're DOING something to help. But how do we lend a hand when the usual channels are cut off?

When it comes to service, it’s always best to start with the needs of those whom we hope to help.  Here at Lovett, Chelle Wabrek and Meredyth Cole heard Lower School parents’ concerns about keeping their children connected to reading. So the school is creating a Virtual Storybook Library where younger children can watch videos of older students and faculty reading their favorite storybooks aloud.  The school is also planning ways for older students to serve as study buddies for younger students, helping with math problems or quizzing vocabulary words.

Looking off campus, members of Lovett’s Civic Engagement Team reached out to the school’s community partners to find out how their needs have changed in the face of the pandemic.  We learned that many are strapped for resources in ways they’ve never been before. Both Agape Youth and Family Center and La Amistad are focused on making sure their families have access to food. A.G. Rhodes Long Term Care and Rehabilitation is working to prevent loneliness and isolation from closing in on seniors who have limited access to the outside world. Mercy Community Church is gathering basic supplies to feed and clothe Atlantans who don’t have a house to retreat to. We’ve compiled a list of needs reported by our community partners and others who are working to help vulnerable and underserved people. Whether your family would like to send cheerful cards to elderly Atlantans, foster a kitten for Furkids, purchase grocery store gift cards for Agape, or just lend a helping hand to a neighbor, there are lots of ways for us to maintain those ties that keep our communities strong.

We’d love to learn how you and your family are staying engaged with the community. Please send a photo to me (fran.turner@lovett.org) or post it to Instagram with the hashtag #LovettServes. And if you’ve got additional ideas for ways Lovett families can help, please send them my way.

The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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