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Challenge Accepted: Celebrating Through Closure

How two local courts made an impact while overcoming hurdles thrown at them by the panemic


St. John 1321, Chaska, Minnesota

From parades to Zoom nights, the challenge of celebrating any life event during the pandemic has caused a lot of people to get creative. For St. John 1321 in Chaska, Minnesota, they saw a way to help someone rejoice. A girl named Cailey has cerebral palsy and a chromosome disorder and her 29th birthday was coming up. Local Youth Director Angela Schwalbe, in speaking with Cailey’s mom over Facebook, knew that there was a way to help Cailey celebrate her special day. “We asked members to create or buy a card to send to Cailey for her birthday since she can’t have a party,” said Angela. After sharing her idea with the court, everyone got to work!

Each in their own homes, court members made or purchased cards that were bright and colorful to bring cheer to Cailey. They also sent a hand-knitted sweater for her doll. Despite not being able to gather to create the cards, St. John 1321 found a way to put aside their own pandemic struggles to make a stranger’s day extra special. Something as simple as a birthday card can truly turn someone’s day around, and St. John 1321 certainly made Cailey’s day.

St. Barbara 2513, Erlanger, Kentucky

During times like this it is easy to lose a sense of normalcy among all the chaos, but the smallest gestures make things seem normal again. I do not think anyone will disagree that COVID-19 has been an overwhelming enemy. It almost feels like we have nothing to fight this terrible pandemic with, as if we are helpless. However, often in life we see answers in acts of charity. St. Barbara 2513 gathered young adults together and armed them with the greatest weapon to fight this pandemic: kindness.

John Kidwell, Youth Director of St. Barbara 2513, led a group of local students to a residential care facility to make cotton candy goodie bags for the residents. Although the students were not able to be inside because of the high contact risk of the individuals in the building, the deliveries that were dropped off made all the difference. John told me how excited the students were to help people. “It’s helpful to have constructive and creative students,” he said. “Having them come together to organize this event was great because it gave them a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie, something that may be hard to come by during a pandemic.”

Articles by Kaitlynrose Bicek and Michael Cesario, respectively

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