I will never forget the third week of March. I was stuck in the house, watching the television, wondering if the world was collapsing around us. All of the negative images on the news were so depressing. Walking down Bank Street, State Street, and Broad Street and seeing the streets so quiet during the day, I began to think about all of the businesses in town, the children who cannot go to school, and the mental health challenges that many were facing. I was concerned about what prolonged effects all of this would have on everyone, including myself. That is when I had the idea of bringing hope and encouragement to our community through a variety of different ways during this pandemic.
With so many children at home, discouraged they could no longer learn in their classrooms, I wanted to encourage them to continue reading while they were home. Posting daily read aloud videos of children’s books and young adult books, I hoped to increase their love for reading. The series “Read and Learn with Mr. Booker” has brought much joy to me as people engage with me and the books as well as shared the videos with others. It is exciting to receive book recommendations from students, parents, and educators and I thoroughly enjoy sharing the books with others.
With the desire to bring encouragement, I decided to post short, daily videos in the morning to uplift the community with motivational words. I shared ways one could manage the stress they were feeling with all of the uncertainty and anxiety they may be experiencing during this uncertain time. Sharing breathing and meditation exercises also helped me process how I was feeling during this pandemic. My hope is that these daily posts as well as my nightly prayers will inspire us to walk by faith and not by sight during this very uncertain time.
As businesses closed and needed to change the way they operated, I saw a need to shed light on how people could continue supporting them during the pandemic. Filming and posting short videos with the business owners brought increased awareness in our community as people learned of services and businesses that were still open. This opportunity allowed me to meet so many incredible business leaders that call New London home.
Many people used their platforms on social media to uplift and encourage others during this pandemic. It was encouraging to scroll through my feed to see others from New London and New London County helping their neighbors, posting encouraging messages, and sharing their gifts with the world. That prompted me to start the Positive Community Post Certificates to recognize people uplifting our community (even people I did not know well), where I posted recognition on Facebook with a virtual certificate to celebrate their positive impact on the community.
I had the great pleasure to help with meal delivery for New London Public Schools as well as the Whalers Helping Whalers meal initiative. In a time of great need in our community, these two organizations stepped up in a big way. I enjoyed being a small part of bringing meals to families and seniors in our community. So many organizations, businesses, and individuals are helping our neighbors during this time. New London is a strong community and everyone has demonstrated that even more during this pandemic!
Filming all of these videos and participating in other community events allowed me to connect with others in new ways. During this time of being isolated from each other, sharing positive messages of hope with others uplifted my spirit and helped me focus on seeing the positive during this pandemic. Sometimes the greatest gift you can give someone is encouragement and hope. Through giving that to others, you are filled with hope yourself.
There is a quote my uncle shared with me when I was younger that I live by, “When you see a problem, that is why God created you, to find a solution.” I thank God for allowing us to see a little bit of light through these tumultuous times in our great city. We will make it through this health crisis!
Submitted by Kevin L. Booker Jr. on Oct 20, 2020