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Community urged to ‘Save Summer’ for local children

Posted 5 July 2020 at 9:52 am

Editor,

I peruse your Op-Ed section baffled about the letters to you regarding politics and social warrior justice. I think it’s time for us to come together on something we can all agree on: The pandemic has destroyed the lives of our little ones, and we need to put them first.

Our children have suffered the worst of this pandemic and the fallout, the absence of “normal” for them which has involved school (and friends) cancelled. Then summer camp, cancelled, Then the fair… cancelled.  Now, no fireworks. Is anyone concerned about the mental health of our kids anymore?

Imagine when we were kids …  in early spring, we were nearing the Easter break, looking forward to egg hunts and candy, and afterward, back with our friends at school. By the end of June, we were excited for summer and activities. Camp, baseball and other sports, dance class, swimming and camping, and get-togethers with our friends. A summer of playing outside until the sun came down and Mom would yell out the window “DINNER!” And after waking up the next day, we looked forward to doing it all over again. This went on for decades, until 2020.

Imagine instead, we were suddenly yanked from school, but not in a “good” way. But then, looking forward to summer after this crazy three months, we were told that summer isn’t happening, either. That summer was cancelled, too. How do you think you or I would have handled that, only add in some fear and a mask and a lot of uncertainty. As children, we would have been horrified at the thought; but that is exactly what is happening to our own children today.

Imagine you’re that kid again under these Covid-19 insecurities. How do you think they feel? Suddenly, our children have lost their childhood and no one seems to notice or care. Instead of adults removing ourselves from conflict with one another, we looked away from what is most important. Working together as a community to help our children,  fighting for THEM, instead of our own self interest?

My heart breaks every time my 12-year-old says, after another last minute disappointment in a summer event now cancelled, “Mom, when is coronavirus over?” And I hang my head in shame because I don’t know what to say.

After all, for 12 years I have been in control of this child’s future. I am supposed to know the answer. But I don’t. It’s not only he who feels helpless looking to me to answer this question.  But after searching online everyday for some good news for him, anything to raise his spirits, I come up with nothing. No fireworks, no fair. No nothing. Nothing to do for summer for the first time in our country since our nation was founded. Our kids are suffering, and no one has any good news, at least not here in WNY.

Right now, our kids need warriors who will fight on their behalf. Instead of just cancelling outright whatever the county had planned as per usual, we could have had restrictions on events, had a local lawyer draw up a disclosure agreement so organizers wouldn’t be worried about getting sued after their events if someone gets Covid. We need people in charge of this county (Representatives and Senators, Mayors and Councilmen) to come up with a plan “B” instead of worrying about the upcoming election, a plan for our children to have somewhat of a normal summer to distract them from the insecurity of the nationwide lockdown.

Even outside of our government, we need individuals with resources, ideas, and courage to do what is best for our kids without a selfish agenda. We need to come together to salvage what is left of summer for them. We need volunteers (sign me up) to get the word out, think of options and listen to others, compromise and plan, plan, plan until we fill up the void left (after being shut out of the decision-making process with regard to events such as the county fair and yearly fireworks celebrations).

Yesterday, when my son said, “I love Independence Day! We get to watch the fireworks and wave the American flag!!” I didn’t have the courage to tell him they were cancelled. I couldn’t bear the disappointment any longer. I urged his dad to tell him, instead.

I’m not the only parent feeling this way. There is a silent majority out there thinking the same thing, but we can’t stay silent anymore. We have to get together and do soemthing for all of our children.

I’m all ears:  If anyone out there is just as desperate as me to “Save Summer”, please reach out to me. My email address is kennedy99kimberly@gmail.com. I can’t wait to hear from you all – all of you warriors who have children, and even those who don’t, but remember the old days of care-free summer vacation and who long to do something for the children of the community.

C’mon Orleans, I’m counting on you… And so are the children who live (and play) here!

God bless you all,

Kimberly Kennedy

Medina