This year, thus far, has been weird, crazy, virtual, confusing, and stressful. Who would have ever thought that we would be in the midst of a world-wide pandemic? Seriously, though, we read about The Black Death from 1346-1353, the Spanish Flu of 1918, and the Polio Outbreak in our history books in grade school, but nobody ever said anything about us having to be a part of a terrible pandemic. On top of that, we’re in college. Isn’t this supposed to be the greatest part of our lives?
As we never stepped foot back onto campus after Spring Break, we never got to tell our friends good-bye, attend the Luckyday Spring Gala, or pull an all-nighter in the lounge one more time. That’s the past though, and as Dr. Sparkman always says, “What can we do to make the future better?” A group of Luckyday students took his words to heart and started the Luckyday COVID Cares Team. The Luckyday COVID Cares Team met virtually once a week, and when fellow students came down with COVID-19, the team helped them out in any way they could. From sending goody bags with students’ favorite snacks in them to holding up a giant “get well” sign outside of a student’s room, the team showed that they cared for others and that this pandemic was not going to keep them down.
Hadley Howell, senior, communication studies major
As August approached and the university laid out all of the safety guidelines for the fall semester, there was one thing that was missing! See, my mom had COVID-19 previously during the summer, and it was a tough time as there is literally nothing that you can do about it. She is fine, now, but the quarantine part made her more sick than COVID-19 did itself. The university had set aside dorms for students to quarantine in, in case they were unable to return home in fear of spreading the virus to their family. Now, what is a college student supposed to do by themselves in a dorm room for two weeks? The university had a plan as to what to do when someone got sick, but they didn’t necessarily have a plan for those who got sick and couldn’t return home. Also, students were going to be affected by this in other ways. They may lose a loved one due to the pandemic. I say all of that to say, we just couldn’t send our fellow students home when there was a lot more to this than quarantining for a few weeks. I called Dr. Sparkman and started the COVID Cares Team. It has truthfully been an amazing experience to see how something so small such as a goody bag can make such a big difference. I continued to text the individuals who had COVID-19 and tried to keep up with their progress, and it was rewarding to watch them get better over time. I am super excited, though, as a vaccine is in the works that the COVID Cares Team will become the Luckyday Cares Team in the future and will be able to reach out to scholars who have lost a loved one or are going through a hard time. We just can’t harp on the past when we have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the future. I’m so thankful for all of my team members who have joined me on this journey and always know that Luckyday cares for you! –Had
Sarah Mitchell, sophomore, chemistry major
I, Sarah Grace Mitchell, joined the COVID Cares Teams because I realized the impact COVID-19 would have on the campus. Many people know of someone or themselves have been affected by COVID-19 at this point. Towards the beginning of the semester, there were more cases, and we got together goodie bags to give to these people. I had been affected myself since I was in close contact with someone who had tested positive. Luckily, I did not contract the virus, but the COVID Cares Team supported me regardless. They gave me a bag full of goodies and things to do while I stayed in my room for two weeks. One day a group of members came to the Luckyday door and held up a sign hoping I got better soon. The team recently decided to expand our support to people going through a tough time, and I was glad that our team decided to expand our support. Many Luckyday scholars have lost family members. It is essential to reach out to them because Luckyday is truly a support system on campus that cares about each one of its members. We were even able to reach out to a student outside of the Luckyday program who was a good friend of many scholars. She was very happy to get the card, and she said that it really showed her that she had a support system through this rough time in her life. I am glad to be a part of a team supporting people quietly, and I can’t wait to see what the spring semester holds for us.
Olivia Knight, sophomore, health care major
This semester has been very unpredictable for many of us, and this organization formed due to the uncertainties that many students face now due to the Corona Virus. I am grateful that as Luckyday Scholars, we saw a need for an organization like this to help our fellow classmates who have been diagnosed with Corona to know that Luckyday is here for them and we will support them through this crisis. Not only have we taken the initiative to care for people with the corona virus, but we decided to also send sympathy cards or words of encouragement to those who are going through a rough season. Personally, this organization has made me realize the importance of staying socially aware and ensuring those around you are cared for physically and mentally during this difficult time. I am very glad that this organization has been created and can continue to do great things for Luckyday in the future by offering support and encouragement to all of the scholars.
Mary Cate Sliman, sophomore, speech pathology & audiology major
This semester has been an incredibly different one that nobody ever expected would happen. We formed this organization to help all students who are in Luckyday get through these hard times that we will be facing for the next couple of months. I am grateful that we Luckyday Scholars took the initiative to form this organization to help our fellow classmates who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to know that all of Luckyday is here for them throughout this pandemic. On a personal level this organization has made me a lot more aware of the people around me by caring for all scholars, not just the ones I am friends with.
Riley McGregor, sophomore, kinesiotherapy major
This semester, I volunteered with the Luckyday Covid Cares Team. Here, I was able to play a small role in helping those who had been affected by COVID-19 by providing support to those people. It was extremely gratifying to know that people who are facing the pandemic firsthand would feel the support of the community around them.
Thomas Dilwith, sophomore, history major
I have greatly enjoyed being a part the COVID Care Team. I mostly helped with assembling some care packages, helped write some cards, and delivery. I felt that COVID Care Team had done an amazing job with reminding people that they are appreciated. When my brother got the virus a little while back, one of the first things I did was fill out the form for him for the Care Team. He told me that the care package that we took to him made him feel appreciated and remembered. Having some of his favorite candy definitely made him feel thought of, and he also said there were times when he played with the silly putty because “there was nothing else to do.” I feel that one of the best things about the Care Team is the thoughtfulness it puts towards others while encompassing many of the qualities of servant leadership. This COVID year has been rough for many people, and I am glad to be a part of a team that has served others in a caring way.
Hadley Howell, Mina Burton, and Kennedy Hanna visited a fellow Luckyday Scholar having to quarantine for a few days at USM. They surprised the scholar with a bag of her favorite snacks and a few items to help her pass the time.