In this new world of social distancing and ‘stay at home orders,’ Lydia’s House has reassessed how we can live out and create community. Specifically, we’re discovering new ways to offer positive memories and celebration to our current and former guests. At Virginia Coffey Place, as a 6 year old tenant’s birthday grew closer, it became clear that his hoped for party could not happen. Though it took a bit of creativity, we worked together with J’s mother to create a memory that he won’t forget anytime soon – a birthday parade! We gathered together folks from the Lydia’s House
On March 22, 2020, Ohio declared “shelter in place” because of COVID-19. All non-essential organizations and businesses closed. As a family shelter we are considered to be essential, but our way of being together demanded reflection and change as a result of the mandate for social distancing. On the day of the governor’s order we had all four rooms filled with 4 adult guests, 4 children and 2 live in volunteers, all sharing meals and bathrooms and common space. We put all of our practices and norms under scrutiny. After many sleepless nights and a lot of behind the scenes
Mardi Gras, translated as: “Fat Tuesday”, is a celebration to enjoy all rich, fatty foods before the lent fasting season. So on Sunday February 23, Lydia’s House family and friends gathered together for this historic celebration. Food and drinks covered the tables, pizza, fresh veggies, and even green frosted brownies, a real feast. Everyone just milled around reconnecting with those they hadn’t seen in a while or those they had. Or danced to Will Smith’s “Getting Jiggy Wit’ It”. Others got in line at the photo booth to get their pictures taken. Still others raced around the room after children.
Even though snow blows today, spring is growing near. We had our first backyard cookout (thanks Sue & Marcia!) and are looking forward to Zoo Babies and Ameristop ice cream soon. We also just celebrated the conclusion of “Winter Wellness BINGO.” Winter Wellness BINGO was created last year as winter grey days and holidays, often a trigger for painful memories, loomed ahead. Each guest and staff member was given a BINGO card with various activities to complete over the winter months. This activity gave a language and a framework for having regular conversations about practicing coping skills, building positive relationships,
By Mary Ellen Mitchell, Lydia’s House co-director December 2019 Dear Friends, As I reflect on the last year, first I’m grateful for the opportunity to be in leadership here at Lydia’s House and to have my work and family so integrated in this experiment in shared life and community. Our children are better for it; our days are more meaningful. As such, perhaps the piece of life that stood out most boldly for the Mitchell-Eilerman contingent of this operation was this operation, with Lydia’s House taking a new role in our family as the employer of both me and Ben