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LightHouse Staffers Reflect on Their Pandemic Year

LightHouse Staffers Reflect on Their Pandemic Year

March 16 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of most LightHouse staff working from home due to the pandemic. For many it has been the most challenging year of their lives, in many ways.

We present an ongoing series of reflections from various LightHouse Staffers about their experiences.

Jaclyne Atoigue 
Tony Fletcher
Jennifer Sachs

Jaclyne Atoigue, Administrative Assistant

 

Jaclyne and her family standing outdoors

I have been working from home most of the year, thankfully, especially since my four children have been distance learning. My children are aged 13, 12, 10 and 6. I am so happy to see progress towards reopening the LightHouse, the creation of the BIDE (Belonging, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity) task force and the general efforts by management to keep staff safe, equipped, and supported. However, this last year while professionally wonderful, has been personally difficult. So I offer this poem that I wrote to express the grief I have felt from the loss of my grandfather and my brother, but also the loss of innocence that my children have experienced as they witnessed the world change over the past year.”
 
?
How do I tell you honestly?
The grief that I entomb.
And protect the little lambs
That lived within my womb
 
I cried alone in darkness
I cried in the light of day
But all these tears they spilled
Into an endless bay
 
The lambs they ba’d for freedom
I had no land to give
The streets they burned for justice
We’ve forgotten how to live
 
Touch became a weapon
Race a dividing line
The truth is now a casualty
Of this disorienting time
 
Amidst the grander chaos
My anguish enveloped me
I have yet to grasp the depths
Of this unconquered sea
 
I know the song of sorrow
The siren lured me once
But I am not a child now
I’ve built a stronger front
 
So as a new day rises
I will open pandora’s box
And live within the chaos
For the hope that it unlocks

Tony Fetcher, Director of Enchanted Hills Camp and Retreat

Tony Fletcher

One particular hard moment for me and many in the EHC family this past year was the loss of our friend Sergio Lopez by a sudden an unexplained cause of death. Personally I imagine that for the rest of my days I will remember the place I was standing, the person who told me and my reaction to hearing the sad news. He was young, vibrant, tough as nails and constantly facing barriers that he navigated through and around. I attribute COVID-19 as a factor in some form. Most tragic occurrence of this year by far. Gone too soon.
 
With the COVID-19 pandemic, I will be grateful for living through a part of human history that I know will live on in written pages and folklore for many years to come. I would have preferred being at Woodstock or Martin Luther King Jr.’s  “I Have a Dream Speech”, but man, I was here for this world event. I decided to embrace the change. To give gratitude to the slowing of time. Less traffic. Less noise.

Jennifer Sachs, Director of Development

Jennifer Sachs portrait

When we abruptly closed our doors to our students and got sent home, I was pretty scared. I had been a firm believer in the need for the fundraising team to be in the same building, collaborating with each other, being around programs and students, and bouncing ideas off staff in all departments. I didn’t think we’d be able to raise much money in a pandemic, when people were distracted, hyper-focused on COVID-19, the election and what was on Netflix. And we couldn’t get together with donors for large celebratory events or one-on-one tours and meetings. 
 
Well, I have learned so much. My team worked extra hard, thinking creatively and finding ways to connect with donors. And donors were so big-hearted and wanted to help. They responded by giving to the programs LightHouse implemented to check-in on blind community members. They also supported virtual programs to keep people engaged, learning new skills and combat isolation. I’ve learned a lot, and much of what I’ve learned will be useful and more effective in my job even when we are all ‘hallelujah” back together in-person.