From the editor: In search of silver linings
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — I’ve always been a glass-half-full, rose-colored glasses, silver-linings kind of gal. The last eight days have been a definite test, and I don’t mind admitting, it’s been one hell of a week.
From hundreds losing their jobs when the mountain suspended operations to our thriving restaurant scene being forced to close its doors to dine-in customers, it’s been tougher than usual to find the hidden blessings. Our new normal seems to shift by the hour, if not the minute, and so many in our beautiful mountain community are hurting, and hurting badly.
But despite all the challenges we face, my heart is filled with gratitude for the community of Steamboat Springs and Routt County. If I had to be self-quarantined anywhere, I don’t think I could have found a better place to be alone — together — than here.
Over the past week, I’ve been actively searching for the silver lining of this crisis, and I think I’ve found it in the many acts of human kindness and support that I see happening in our communities right now. And here are just a few examples of what I’ve discovered.
• A group of local restaurants and businesses have joined together to launch the “Family Bowl” initiative, which is providing free, carry-out meals to restaurant and service industry individuals who have recently lost their jobs and to other community members who can’t afford a hot meal.
• A Steamboat woman with experience volunteering with the Red Cross in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, created the Routt Responds Facebook group, which is dedicated to connecting volunteers with needs in the community. The group has quickly become a hub where people are sharing needs, resources and information about volunteer opportunities. As of Sunday, the group had over 1,550 members.
• Local gyms and studios across town are providing virtual classes, along with a sense of community, for those stuck alone at home, and many of these offerings are free.
• Another Facebook group, called Routt County Quarantine Sing, emerged Saturday. This group, which now has 217 members, is committed to a daily community sing-a-long. Last night, at 7 p.m., members stepped outside of their homes and onto their back decks and front porches for their inaugural song, belting out “Joy to the World” to the delight of their neighbors.
• At this moment, as I look out my window, I see people walking around our neighborhood with their dogs and their kids — getting outside together as families and breathing deep. I’ve noticed an increase in the number of people who wave to me if I’m sitting on our front porch, and we all smile more broadly as we pass each other at a safe social distance.
• And finally, for me, one of the biggest silver linings, are my co-workers at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. They’re all working remotely, but they haven’t skipped a beat. We are focused on making sure this community has the news it needs to navigate COVID-19, and our hardworking journalists are committed to writing timely, factual articles with context and compassion, despite dealing with fears and uncertainties of their own.
Going forward, I want to ensure that we’re balancing our news coverage with the more human side of this crisis by sharing stories of how people are coping despite fear, uncertainty and economic hardship, and how our community is coming together to support one another.
I’m inviting readers to send examples of the “silver linings” they’re experiencing. Please share with us your stories of random acts of kindness, of people paying it forward, of neighbors helping neighbors, by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Silver linings.” Once we collect enough of these, we hope to publish “Yampa Valley Silver Linings” features on a daily basis to help remind our readers they’re not alone.
And to inspire you, the Pilot & Today staff has collaborated to create a “Pilot’s Silver Lining Playlist” for your listening pleasure. These songs are a compilation of the tunes our team turn to when they are looking for a needed boost. Enjoy, and I hope to hear from you soon.
To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.
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Routt County’s Human Resources Coalition has outlined a three-year plan to help vulnerable county residents, putting particular focus on affordable housing, transit and mental health.