Sure. We’re scared. And frustrated. Our livelihoods are at risk. But we’re still Forest Park. And that means, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, we are still members of a tight community that looks out for one another, which has a little whimsy left in it and a lot of fight.
Here are things the Review is reporting this week that make us proud of being a part of this village:
The Chamber of Commerce, as resilient an organization as Forest Park has ever spun up, is hard at work supporting the small, independent businesses that are the heart and the soul of this village. Standing up for the local restaurants still open for pick-up and delivery with constantly updated information on hours and menus and delivery mechanisms. They will also play a critical role in guiding local business as state and federal loan processes begin to be available.
If you are seeing silly faces or animal drawings hanging in Forest Park windows, that’s the happy effort of Jaymi Raad and the Facebook group she created to get kids and families out the door and scavenger-hunting for the latest fresh art projects. The Forest Park Neighborhood Window Walk group on FB has new themes scheduled through the next two weeks. Coming up are encouraging words, flowers, jokes and Easter eggs.
Our public schools are working hard on inventing eLearning opportunities for our students. Seems to be having some positive impact even as we enter official Spring Break Week. Sort of hard to distinguish from Last Week at Home or The Week After This at Home but we do need ways to keep children active and engaged.
Special kudos to Neal Rutstein, an English teacher at PMSA, who is teaching his students Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” using his homemade YouTube videos featuring the stuffed animals and puppets left over at his house from when his kids were young. Entertaining and instructional, Rutstein says, “I try to make my videos fun because so much of life, especially these days, is hard and increasingly grim.”
The local school districts are also doing important work making sure food insecure students are getting multiple meals each day. This is a critical role we have assigned to our schools these days and is never more important than during this crisis.
And finally, these aren’t the circumstances under which we’d like to see Westlake Hospital re-open, but it is an obvious medical facility that is available in the coming crisis of hospital capacity. Rep. Chris Welch is right to be pushing the state to jump at this.