Wishing Holiday Cheer and a Happy New Year
Updated: Dec 18, 2020
It’s been a different year at Good Will-Hinckley, with remote learning, social distancing, face coverings and Zoom becoming routine. At times, it’s been challenging to get through another day.
But because of our family and friends and community, we’ve made it. A vaccine is in sight, and in six months most likely, the trials of 2020 will be safely in the rearview mirror.
For us, because of the community we serve, it’s more important than ever that we get back to normal life—or whatever our new normal is—as soon as possible next year.
Throughout these difficult times, there’s been some constants: family, friends and community, and that’s been especially true at Good Will-Hinckley.
As anyone with a child in school right now knows, remote learning is a challenge for everybody. It’s an even greater challenge for students like ours, who often haven’t had the same privileges as their peers.
Next year looks promising, however. There should be several effective COVID-19 vaccines readily available, which should allow many of the things we’ve been missing to happen again. Movie theaters will hopefully re-open, sports arenas may start filling their seats with fans again, and restaurants and other local businesses will once again serve customers and generate revenue that’ll be for their benefit and that of their local economies.
If you’re feeling frustrated still, there are ways to keep your head up. To paraphrase James Earl Jones in “Field of Dreams”, throughout these difficult times, there’s been some constants: family, friends and community, and that’s been especially true at Good Will-Hinckley.
Being There For Each Other
Sure, there’s been a lot of changes at GWH since March. For example, we have Plexiglass shields protecting our office staff. We also must answer daily health questions and health screenings, and we’re cleaning our facilities like we never have before.
What’s more, there have been no large gatherings since March. That means no Holiday Magic weekend with Santa Claus and our cookie-making even for our campus and for local families. There’s no staff and student celebration of the holiday season. No high fives and pats on the back for a job well done.
We held our annual gala virtually this year, and we’ve missed having our alumni back on campus to celebrate their successes. There’s been no field trips for our students, either.
But we’re still doing everything we can to provide support, education and important services to the students we serve.
I’ve been encouraging people to continue to take advantage of FaceTime, Skype and Zoom, to visit virtually with friends, family, neighbors and people in their towns. It might seem like a small thing, but a 10-minute chat with Grandma Rose or Uncle Leon can brighten their days more than you can imagine.
Another way to stay connected is to support local businesses. Try holiday shopping at a local store rather than ordering from Amazon. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99 percent of the Maine economy, and during the holidays, every small business could use our patronage.
The Holidays at GWH
Over the years at Good Will-Hinckley, the holidays have included many different activities. For 25 years, the Festival of Trees brought smiles and wonder to people of all ages. The weeklong event included not only an auditorium filled with beautifully decorated, sponsored trees, but also musical performances, a visit from Santa, cookie decorating, clogging and much more.
More recently, GWH added the Good Will-Hinckley Holiday Magic celebration, which is a weekend event that is free and open to the public and includes a Santa visit, cookie decorating, painting crafts, face painting and horse drawn wagon rides.
We are starting a new campaign called “Coffee Club,” where members take the money they’d typically use for coffee and donate it to support the kids at GWH.
This year, we’ve adjusted and adapted and have been doing virtual celebration and socially distant gatherings in small groups while wearing face coverings. We’re doing what we can to lift each other up emotionally with positive comments and encouragement, and we are starting a new campaign called “Coffee Club,” where members take the money they’d typically use for coffee and donate it to support the kids at GWH. It’s a way to give people the chance to give back one week at a time.
No matter what, we all are very much looking forward to 11:59 p.m. on December 31. We can leave the strange, difficult and challenging year of 2020 behind, and we can move forward as an organization, a community, a state, a country and a world.
Happy holidays and happy New Year from everyone at Good Will-Hinckley. See you in 2021!