How a penny promotional bookmark reminded me of what is important, especially now: community

For more than 15 years, part of my work as a nonprofit executive included a year-end “feel good” mailing (to constituents who had not actually donated) that made me want to scratch my own eyes out. I saw those 8 1/2 x 11 white envelopes as a tremendous waste of time and resources.

Fast forward three years later, I am no longer working for that organization, but I am now a secondary caregiver for my mother who lives in a local assisted living facility.

My mother receives her medical care and attends a day program at a local healthcare center called Fallon Health. It is part of an all inclusive program called “PACE” that includes medical care, nutrition, occupational therapy, daily activities, meals, etc. They even provide services such as haircuts and laundry services for low income seniors.

Before the pandemic, I was able to attend her appointments with her at Fallon so I was able to get to know her care team at Fallon. Even once the pandemic started, we stayed connected via zoom and phone calls.

I have not been to the Fallon building since the summer due to the pandemic so I was surprised to receive a mailing from them today.

When I opened it, it contained a printed poem and a bookmark dedicated to caregivers.

This bookmark, one I once had LOATHED my entire career as a nonprofit executive, was now causing REAL TEARS to fall from my eyes!

This small gesture from Fallon made me feel SEEN and made me feel what perhaps other caregivers had felt all those years when the received the mailings we so tirelessly sent out! I had flashbacks of our team sitting at those 15 foot tables stuffing envelopes and eating sandwiches from Frigos. (We even included our children in those evening sessions because we FULLY believed in child labor! 😂)

As we ease into 2021, Think about some of the ways you engage with people who are important to you. Perhaps you have stopped reaching out in a certain way because you thought it you believed it to be either ineffective or a waste of time and money. I encourage you to reconsider!

We need to feel connected now more than ever!

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