As we begin to navigate our way through post-lockdown’s ‘new normal’, I hope that as a community, we continue to support everyone in our community.
It would be easy for all of us to return to life pre-Covid, but I truly believe the last four months have taught us the importance of community and how we can all play our part within it.
It was evident, back in March, when the whole world appeared to be veering into unprecedented chaos, people sought comfort, even small ones, in the face of extreme uncertainty.
One of those small comforts has come to be Fred Rogers’ famous advice to look for the helpers. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers - an American TV personality - said to his television Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. Look for the helpers.”
It’s a good line. Thank you, Mr Rogers. And its endurance isn’t surprising.
The presence of helpers offers us hope in moments of chaos. The world might feel terrible right now, with the effects of a pandemic across the globe, but, somehow, there are still people out there caring for others.
Better, those people think caring for others - the key ingredient of maintaining social bonds - is still worth their while.
Their actions remind us that there will, after all this, be something left that’s worth fighting to preserve.
A study from 2009 tracked people ages 18 to 60, and found that those who perform acts of kindness felt more satisfied with their lives than those who did not. The list goes on and on.
Psychologists refer to this boost as a helper’s high and believe our brain creates endorphins when we perform acts of goodness. The pleasure centres of our brains light up when we give.
Now, of course we shouldn’t only give to others to help ourselves. In fact, research suggests that such attempts to game our generosity systems are unlikely to produce desired results.
I have been struck by the efforts of young people across Torbay to make a difference to their community.
Everyday there is another story of a local young person who has shown love and compassion.
Last month, I received a message from Jade Wood, the mother of two young boys in Torbay.
Jade contacted me to say that her two sons, Harry and Luke, had heard about RE4orm and wanted to help.
From there, Jade went into detail about their plan to raise money and what a plan it was!
Luke, aged nine, and seven-year-old Harry came up with an idea to run one mile a day for the whole of June.
The boys measured routes in Shiphay and every morning, the boys would run their mile.
Like many other children and young people across the country, both Luke and Harry have been discussing Covid-19 with their parents and how many people in our community have been affected.
The boys had a target of £200 to raise at the start of June. Every day the boys ran their mile; through sun, wind and rain. They even ran on Harry’s birthday! On many of their daily runs, their friends and teachers waved as they ran past and cheered them on.
Luke and Harry beat their target of £200 magnificently, raising an impressive £1,440!
The money raised will enable RE4orm to continue to support families in need across Torbay and will make a huge difference.
Luke and Harry are exceptional boys whose tenacity, courage and determination knows no bounds. There are so many young people just like Luke and Harry, who have demonstrated an extraordinary grit to make an impact on their community when it is needed the most.
Well done, boys! We are all super proud of you.