Every time the holiday season comes around, I look forward to those moments when I can celebrate with my family. It is a time to slow down, reconnect, and create new memories. As I prepare for visits and decorate our home, I become nostalgic, recalling past holidays when my daughters were still young. I am grateful that my husband and I, both educators, could spend time with the girls and create memories that we continue to cherish today.

This past year has been challenging for many families still grappling with the effects of a global pandemic. Parents shared with me their stories about losing a loved one or expressed anxiety about the state of the world. I listened and offered what words of comfort I could. As a school board member, that is one of the responsibilities of serving the community, to provide some hope and make positive changes where I can. And that, I believe, is key–as part of a community, we are all interconnected. What happens in one part of our community still affects us somehow.

This holiday, I encourage you to reconnect with your community and help in any way you can. It may not be easy considering all the commitments we have today. Often, we don’t have enough time for ourselves or our families! However, reaching out to your community doesn’t need to be complicated nor stressful. It can be as simple as calling a neighbor and checking in to see how they’re doing. Buying a few extra canned goods and donating them to your local pantry is another way to help. Maybe you can volunteer one day or an hour at some local community organization. In Volusia County, for example, there is Volunteer Volusia where they post projects for local volunteers.

Reconnecting with your community can bring some pleasant surprises. It is also suitable for children to see the importance of community involvement and making a difference. It’s an opportunity to teach them how we all are connected in some way and can work together to make our communities better.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season as you celebrate with your loving families, joyful friends, and memorable community experiences.

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