Photo: positive and negative words from the survey

Sharing is Caring

Posted on June 17, 2020 by Hannah Saeger Karnei, Inaugural TPF Fellow
In late April and May, The Patterson Foundation reached out to our community and asked two simple questions:
  • What is the most positive experience you've had as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What has been the biggest challenge for you in dealing with the Coronavirus?
Given the diversity of you, the humans in our network (including but not limited to Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties), you may expect that there was little cohesion in the more than 40 responses. What we discovered reading through your thoughts was how much we all have in common.

The title of The Patterson Foundation's "survey" was Sharing is Caring. Because of that, we'll start by sharing the things that our community feels need extra caring around. First, you are all struggling with the effects of social distancing. Whether it's as humans missing parents, children, and anticipated milestones or service providers struggling to connect with clients to ensure they're being helped in the best way — you miss that human touch. While Florida has begun to reopen, service provision, travel, dining, and a number of other things will not return to how things were in February 2019. The impact of uncertainty is rippling through our lives, and adaptation is needed for everything from weddings to leadership styles.

The good news is, your positive experiences hold the answers to many of your concerns. Overwhelmingly, you shared that the COVID-19 induced "pause" in regular activities, which allowed you to be intentional in connecting in new ways. You've had the opportunity to rekindle relationships with old friends, forced (in a good way) time with children, and innovated how you reach the populations who need your services through technology. You've had an opportunity to be intentional in identifying what is truly critical in our lives and organizations.

Even more positive news is that what was shared in April has been reiterated in June during community conversations. These conversations were had in partnership with Manatee Community Foundation and offered an extended, virtual, face to face format to discuss concerns and aspirations for the community. We're being cemented into deeper, more intentional connections with each other, and it's changing how we operate for the better. I look forward to future conversations that will help us strengthen these connections.

At The Patterson Foundation, we know that our world is not near returning to "normal." We hope that you'll take what you've learned during this time and establish new paths forward that create more resilient communities. Trust is built through communication, so we encourage you, as daily activities begin to resume, to lean into intentional conversations rather than once again be consumed with busy. We have learned that uncertainty can breed fear, but trust in our community enables us to break fear's hold and set us on a hopeful path. TPF welcomes you to share ideas or hopes you have for a more connected road forward.

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