On the Human Services Front

A lovely piece from Firefly Kate Sydney’s Compassion Collection

One of the many folks on the Human Services front that we’ve long appreciated is Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of the Family & Children’s Association in Nassau County. He suggest that this press update from NYS Senator Kaplan is a good resource for those who care and/or need services during this challenging time, be they senior services, hunger, housing, healthcare, domestic violence, drug addiction, or legal services.

We were heartened to hear that caring LIers crashed the LI Cares website trying to make donations. Still, food banks are facing significant challenges, especially with everyone rushing the grocery stores!

They are running an “Essential Drive in Response to COVID-19 School Closures, which you may donate to here. You can check out their Facebook Page for information on what they’re doing to serve our most vulnerable, including mobile food pantries!

From The INN: What You Can Do to Help Right Now

Housing Help has been offering info on legislative and other matters that impact housing and more

Mental Health: We don’t know where this “Waves of Wellness” is based, save Facebook, but it’s been helpful

For Veterans: One of the better sources of information we’ve come across aimed directly at vets is Patchogue VFW Commander Dave Roger’s personal Facebook Page. We are grateful for his service.

For Seniors: Stop and Shop will be open exclusively to folks over 60 from 6-7:30am starting Thursday. This lets them get there when it’s the least touched and the best stocked. We are grateful.

The Adventures of Craig & Trudy Chapter 1: Community Leadership, How We Got Here

Photo of Trudy & Craig

My name is Trudy Fitzsimmons and, as Kate Laible said, “Craig Rider and I are up to something,”

So, here we will give a little history of Leadership Huntington and what it has meant to us and the community as we experienced it.  Craig and I have not been directly involved with the Leadership Huntington program for a number of years, but have fond memories of our time contributing to the program. We would love to share the experiences, including some firsthand stories recounted as we remember them.

Sit back and relax because this may take a while.

In the late 80’s early 1990’s, the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce started to develop a Leadership program because several of the board members had been to multiple meetings that week and had started to remark to each other, ”Who will follow in our footsteps when we are no longer available?”

The Chamber developed a not-for-profit arm, “The Huntington Chamber Foundation,” with the help of board member Ken Christiansen and Dianne Parker, who had been hired as its Executive Director. Together with other community leaders, they developed a number of programs. One, was a community leadership program that was designed to produce well informed, motivated leaders who are willing and capable of working together for the good of the community. The Chamber Foundation had, early in its development, over 100 volunteers contributing their talents to creating this leadership program. Ken, who was deeply impressed by how much even a person like him who had been deeply involved in the community learned through the process, often remarked that this group was “in many ways, really, the actual first class of Leadership Huntington.”

This is where Craig Rider gets involved. Craig grew up in Huntington. In an effort to stay in touch with his home town, he had continued to subscribe to The Long Islander. There he read about the Foundation starting a leadership program and called to offer any assistance he could. Being a master facilitator, he had developed a leadership program in Dayton Ohio and worked with many companies all across the United States. We’ll tell you more about Craig’s education and experience later.

So let me continue……

What is Leadership Huntington you ask? Well, I will tell you.  It is an experiential program that later became its own independent 501C3. It has turned out about 15 to 20 graduates per year for the last 20 + years, giving these folks a 360 degree view of the 100 square miles of the Township of Huntington. Leadership serves those open to learning about getting involved in our town and across Long Island as trustees and servant leaders. They believe this program is a best practice for community leadership on Long Island and in the country. It is the only program of its kind on Long Island and one of nearly 1000 across the nation.

Yes, there are other leadership programs offered by universities and such but none that are strictly local or experiential. We believe every Town should have a leadership program to help educate the willing. Leadership builds networks of people who develop skills and learn how their communities work, while providing them with tools to plan a future of their own. One of the things that makes this experience unique is the diversity of the participants. It includes people from business, government, not for profits, arts, science, medical and energy sectors. The young, old, women, men…whoever has an interest.

A number of local businesses, corporations, not for profits, and local government offices have used Leadership as a teaching tool for their employees. For me, over the last 20+ years it has been a privilege to meet some of the most dynamic, talented and generous people who, each in their own way, continue the good work. We will share some of their stories as we go.

The Kids are Home — Now What???

The Kids are Here! by Katheryn Laible

We are grateful schools are working to provide digital education on the fly, and wish everyone the best in figuring that out. We are also grateful that they are endeavoring mightily to keep those who count on them fed.

Meanwhile, the kids are home, we really shouldn’t be taking them around other people and we need good ways to keep everyone thoughtfully enriched:

Here’s a great roundup of resources from Huntington NOW

Entertainkidsonadime.com offers 100 Activities to do at home with Kids

Funinfirst.com offers Free Online Resources for Learning at Home

Some wonderful Mrs. Fahrney offers 30 Virtual Field Trips with Links

AdventuresinFamilyHood.com has 20 Virtual Field Trips to Take with Your Kids

NESCA (Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents) had guidance on Making the most of school-closures

Meanwhile, freecodecamp.org has 450 Ivy League Courses You Can Take for Free.

Here are even more ideas from the New York Times

Feed Your Soul

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

While we STRONGLY RECOMMEND erring on the side of science in terms of understanding how disease spreads and what we have good evidence heals, we also know a great many who (while also following Dr’s orders) find healing and overcoming a deeply personal experience that is greatly strengthened by their faith.

We have also long agreed with Dale Carnegie that prayer is much more psychologically useful than worry and — when there’s nothing else we can do — remains better than doing nothing.

Many houses of worship are closing. While we haven’t yet found a comprehensive guide to what’s now available, we have seen many of our faithful friends posting information about services that are occurring online. We encourage you to contact your own community. We will share what we come across.

We see that Donna Martini has been offering her own “Mighy Mantras” on Facebook as her contribution to helping folks find some spiritual solace.

Additionally this local “Moonful Mama” has been offering some global healing meditations as well as a little of her own Momma’s spirit regarding how we might all find opportunity in times of crisis.

While she probably wouldn’t call herself a faith healer, we do find Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings deeply soothing to our souls. Here is her Meditation on Thich Nhat Hanh’s, “How To Love” a lesson on how to grow our hearts.

For our own part, we pray that – now and always – humanity endeavors toward truth and love, best we may humbly discern our way forward, fueled by faith, dexterity and strength, with gratitude for every blessing we may count, especially to those who keep hope alive.

Peace and well-wishes to all.

Support Local Business & Community Groups

Main St, Northport

Photo of Northport Village by Katheryn Laible

This is a really tough time to be a small business or a not-for-profit organization. While everyone is rightly encouraged to stay home and keep their hands off the world, bills are still coming due and people are wondering what’s going to happen to their income.

When you see one of your most go-getting survivors of a friend seeking donations for her employer, you have to stop and think — What are we going to do for our people here?

Vision Long Island is one of our region’s strongest advocates for Main Street. They have just released their first Main Street News offering a great guide to what people can do in terms of personal initiative, resources and advocacy.

Another strong advocate for local business that has been posting good stuff on their facebook page is the Long Island Business Council.

In general, some ideas that have seemed good to us include:

  1. Buy Gift Certificates. Consider simply sending a donation to your favorite local business
  2. Realize small businesses are often better for social distancing because they tend to be less crowded. They may even have that hard to find supply!
  3. Restaurants are closing, but can still do takeout/delivery. Even for alcohol!
  4. Realize many of these places care about their own health, your health and the community more than most ever realized. Know that many local shops are going out of their way to safely keep on keeping on — Book Revue in Huntington, for example is offering curbside service and even delivery. We’ve heard report of local hair stylists all but wrapping their stylists in bubble wrap. Look up their website/social media. Even if they aren’t advertising it, call them to inquire!
  5. Special events are hugely important for organizations. Had an event cancelled? Send a donation! You can check our newsletter archives to find 100s of great local organizations
  6. Strongly consider supporting policy proposals that directly support individuals and small businesses. While they are going out of their way to come up with creative means of keeping going, there is only so much they can do,
  7. Just be kind — Especially to the cashiers, service providers and others working through this. Just. Be. Kind.
 
 

Networking Can and Should Continue!

Photo provided by Robbie Samuels

We thought this article from our friend Robbie Samuels was really helpful:

9 Ways to Network During a Pandemic

“Due to an abundance of caution, we’re canceling our event.”

All over the world, event organizers have had to make the difficult decision to send this message.

According to the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, 76% of people surveyed said that networking was a top driver for why they chose to attend a live event.

How do we keep networking if live events are being canceled, postponed, or becoming virtual events?”

Read Robbie’s Suggestions here

Online Virtual Meeting Tools

We’ve also been thinking about how to meet remotely, and what services might be helpful. Our friend, Deb Ingino brought Zoom to our attention, which was also recently recommended by a dear friend Kathy Kuthy.

Thanks to Pilar Moya, we learned that Google is making their premium version of Hangouts Meet free until July 1st. She also led us to be reminded about Skype Meanwhile, our kids have having a lot of their own meetings on Facebook Messenger.

Of course, the phone still works, too. 🙂

Art is Life. Life is Art.

Now is a time for story telling, picture painting, music making and dance. We firmly believe these things are fundamental to the human spirit and will choose to be grateful that for now, perhaps, we’ll have some more time to practice our crafts.

We at the Firefly Artists will likely be closing our physical doors for a while, but we will also be ramping up creative endeavors to support art and our artists.

One Firefly, Helen-Murdock Prep has been crafting sweet, funny, honest videos that we are sharing now.

Like the Firefly Artists on Facebook for that and so much more.

Plus:

12 Famous Museums offering Virtual Tours

Mo Willems is hosting a Weekly Live Stream Doodle

We’ll post more at The Firefly and on our own Synchronicity Facebook Page as we find it!!!

Plant Seeds

Photo by Katheryn Laible

Now is an excellent time to start a garden. Dark green leafies and other cold-weather crops can be sown outside now, and many dreams of early summer can be started indoors… plus…flowers…

The Mulch is a really neat gardening resource

Unfortunately, some of our favorite places are closing for the moment, but we’re heartened to hear that Main Street Nursery in Huntington takes online orders and is currently delivering.

Check out your own favorite local gardening places to see what they may be doing, both locally and online. We’ll post resources as we find them. .

Second — An Irish Blessing

A Long Island Four-Leaf Clover. Photo by Katheryn Laible

While the Irish shutting down their pubs on the Eve of St. Paddy’s day is a sure sign that this stuff is serious, locally we’ve seen more than a few Suffolk folks find a silver lining in that they can now get cocktails to go.

For our part, we are choosing to celebrate that The Dropkick Murphys have decided, since they can’t play to a crowd in Boston tonight, they’re going to live stream it the world instead, 7PM EST.

It’s a lovely addition to these amazing videos of balcony performances in Italy.

Play on…

Help Our Emergency Service Providers Help YOU!

Source unknown…but we thank whomever created it and figure they want it shared.

We are beyond grateful for our Emergency Service Providers – always, but especially now. While most of us are taking the moment to prepare ourselves, all over Long Island VOLUNTEERS are preparing themselves to put themselves at risk to help us all see this through.

In order to keep doing this, they NEED TO KNOW when they are going into a situation that might expose them to the virus. This way, they can take the special precautions necessary to keep EVERYONE down the line safe and still in service. So…tell the 911 operator, put a sign in your window, do whatever you can to make sure they can stay in service. THANK YOU!!!

The Huntington Community First Aid Squad has some good stuff on their page that you can share.

 

 

 

And…..while our hearts and gratitude are with all these folks, and Jon in particular is generally the first to point fingers in a million directions regarding whom else we should be appreciating, we want take a moment to personally thank Jon Siebert of the Mastic Beach Ambulance Company for his service here and so many times before. He’s a real friend, a true public servant and a most excellent human.

Best to you and your whole crew!!!!!