Now is The Time for Optimism

April 20, 2020

Optimism may be hard to summon at this time of deep crisis. But this is spring, a time for rebirth and renewal--and hope. So what better moment than now to reflect on what gives me hope, even as the news seems to deliver one despairing story after another?

More on my optimism in a moment. First, I want to talk about the hope my staff is displaying every day as they meet the challenge of delivering mental health services to our clients at PACES—children who face many challenges related to mental illness, trauma, and often poverty.  

I marvel at how our staff have gone about doing this when social distancing requires us to get creative about how we serve these children and their families. We can’t put our kids or our staff at risk of close contact, so Zoom and phones and texts are how we communicate.

Six weeks ago, for example, none of us had ever used Zoom to provide services. But our staff jumped at the challenge. They helped draft letters to parents explaining why we had to make this shift and, more important, how they could connect on Zoom. I’m proud to say those parents, with help from our staff, caught on quickly.

Our staff also taught each other how to use this new technology, offered to research new ways to work with our kids and their families on the phone, and continued to support their social and emotional needs.

As we made these transitions, many employees stepped up to fill open spots for staffing our Crisis Clinic hours and shifts at our children’s shelter, Robert’s Place. Our medication clinic ensured that prescriptions were always available with no gaps in service.  They asked what needed to be done and they did it. Sometimes they just did it. Wow!

Their hard work is grounded in a belief that what they do makes a difference in people’s lives—especially people who struggle with mental illness, poverty, and trauma. They held this hope long before the pandemic came to Wyandotte County, and they’re holding it now as the world is turned upside down.

That’s where my optimism comes from. Their hope gives me reason to believe that PACES will continue to thrive, and continue to serve as a place of support and solace for the most vulnerable among us. I am more than grateful to have such a passionate, caring, and talented staff to help see us through these trying times. I am blessed.