As Stand for Children Illinois’ Community & Family Partnerships Director, I am thankful for the connections and relationships I have built in the communities that we serve. Also, I feel very strongly that it is my job to share resources with our communities and families. So, it was both a privilege and honor to lead our COVID Safety Care campaign.
I felt it necessary for folks in the community to hear directly from me because I am a COVID survivor and COVID long hauler who continues to live with the long-term effects of this virus. Having COVID was terrifying, and, some days, the terror is still there. For sure, the physical effects linger, and this is not a disease I would wish on my worst enemy. You can hear more of my story in these videos we created while in the field during the campaign.
Thanks to a grant from the Chicagoland Vaccine Partnership, Stand volunteers and staff embarked on a door-to-door campaign in some of the hardest hit areas of the South Side of Chicago. Over the course of three weeks, the COVID Care team went to over 2,000 doors where we shared resources about COVID variants, passed out individually wrapped cloth masks, and distributed information about vaccine and testing sites. I will never forget the conversation I had with the gentlemen seated outside the CHA complex in Washington Park. Admittedly, there were challenges running a door-to-door campaign during a global pandemic, but I would do it again, because we authentically connected with communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To me, the COVID Safety Care campaign was different than other “shots in arms” campaigns. Although, I am vaccinated and personally, I would prefer for folks to get vaccinated, I understand that there is still a lot of hesitation about vaccines. So, our team worked hard to get the most up-to-date information about both vaccine and testing sites. Like me, every volunteer of the COVID Care team had either survived COVID themselves, had loved ones with diagnoses, or unfortunately lost a loved one from COVID. Therefore, I knew it was vital that folks most impacted by this pandemic needed to stand alongside with me to share resources with communities most impacted.
To the members of the COVID Care Team, I truly appreciate you. Thank you for braving the elements, prioritizing safety, and sharing your COVID stories with their communities.