Creating a NEW "normal"

Three retired women looked up from shelving books in our colorful library—faces covered with masks, eyes dancing with life.  

“Hey Dr. Main!” calls one. “Hope you’re having a good day!”  I nod, unable to show the big grin beneath my mask. 

For a split second things seemed almost normal, forgetting momentarily that these amazing volunteers put themselves at risk to keep our little library beautiful and book-ready for our students.

Across the hall, Ms Cooper enthusiastically teaches American history to a small cohort of 6th graders.  Our partitioned, “converted” sanctuary is now transformed into a makeshift classroom providing the needed 6 feet of spacing between each student’s desk.

It seems kind of normal, but then I remember Ms Cooper volunteers to place herself on the front lines each day, increasing health risks because she passionately believes in giving students vital human contact. Not to mention her four children at home who are learning remotely and a husband who is an essential worker.

Outside on the patio, sitting a table length apart, our Wellness counselor Shawna converses in a deeply personal way with a 9th grader whose body language suggests a “bad day.”

The moment suggests normal...but then I remember Shawna chooses to do in-person—rather than virtual—individual therapeutic sessions for 20 of our students every week, plus group meetings and Developmental Skills classes. More kids, more interaction, more exposure to harmful contagions.

This is our “new normal”....so far our team has done a remarkable job of keeping everyone safe.

They are the courageous, essential workers showing up every day and creating a sense of normalcy for our children. And our young people desperately need “normal” right now—normal routines, normal contact with adults, normal accountability, normal diets, normal amounts of encouragement and attention. Creating “normal” is critical.

That’s why we’re NOT canceling our annual Thanksgiving Dinners this year—a 33-year-old tradition at UrbanPromise. Celebrating Thanksgiving creates more normal.

No, we won’t have large gatherings and long buffet lines like previous years or multiple people handling serving utensils. But we will still gather and break bread together.

This year our Thanksgiving dinners will be smaller and held outside under a tent. Volunteers will pre-package individual delicious meals of turkey, gravy, collard greens, mash potatoes and macaroni and cheese. Our families, youth and staff will share a meal together.

We hope our modified Thanksgiving creates a sense of “normal” for our families and children—creating a moment to stop, celebrate and reflect on God’s goodness. 

Despite the challenges 2020 has brought to our doorstep, we continue to be thankful for all that God has done. If you have much to be thankful for, would you bless our kids?

I need 100 supporters to underwrite a Thanksgiving meal for $10, and if you’re feeling generous consider making an extra gift of thanksgiving to help us continue to care for children this fall - $25, $50, $140, $490, $990.

  • $25 helps us keep our library up to date for our elementary school children
  • $50 creates more hands on opportunities for our middles school science program
  • $140 supports our Wellness Center that is meeting a whole new range of needs right now
  • $490 helps Ms. Cooper and our other teachers manage last minute shifts as we accommodate this new learning atmosphere
  • $990 supports the tech in our classrooms that is difficult to stay on top of but more important than ever right now

A meaningful tradition that takes place around Thanksgiving dinner tables across the country is joining hands and sharing what you are thankful for. Would you share what you are thankful for? We’d love to hear from you. This year, more than ever, we need your help. 

Thankful this year...especially for normal—

Bruce Main
Founder & President

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