Finding meaningful engagement has temporarily changed.

As American’s we often feel invincible. Our ability to overcome challenges sometimes appears to be unmatched by any situation. Yet today we find ourselves in the midst of a health crisis that threatens to shutdown our Nation and the world. 

Even though Bill Gates’ 2015 Ted Talk predicted we’re not ready for a pandemic, we didn’t take action. Honestly, what steps would the average American do? Stock up on toilet paper, cleaning supplies and non-perishable food.

Moving into 2020 was a momentous event. A new decade and strong National economy. People were buying homes, cars, furniture and everything else the typical American family needs. It seemed as if things were just humming along. Companies were growing, unemployment was low and people were happy. Seemingly very happy.

Then came the Coronavirus in various locations through out the world. Still we felt secure, relatively unconcerned. Within a matter of days and weeks, everything changed.

Key events in history serve as milestones for age and experience. From the Great Depression, World War II and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, September 11, 2001 attacks, and now the Coronavirus.

Our world is built on social connections. It’s a way of life in every country, civilization and community throughout the world. From visiting the local bakery, butcher and florist to attending school, networking events and, of course, the Kids at Heart Fundangos. 

The Kids at Heart Fundango on Saturday, March 7 went off without a hitch. We sanitized hands upon entry and encouraged the kids to keep their hands clean throughout the evening. It’s really all we knew to add a higher level of awareness on germs. About a week later we had to cancel our March 21 Fundango as a safety precaution. None of us suspected it could mean months of cancellations.

Following the updates, changes and daily State and National updates is sometimes a full-time job.

As a continuation of our mission to help parents with respite and provide meaningful experiences for teens, we are launching a Teen Video Connect on Saturday, April 4.

Our model has never been online. Now we’re in the midst of reimagining our programs for hopefully the short term future. The Kids at Heart board and staff are committed to safe practices and abiding by all local, state and federal guidelines for close contact with people.

This is truly uncharted territory for our team and the families we serve. But, we’re moving forward with enthusiasm, creativity and flexibility.