Dear Friends,

Greetings to you all during this time of rapid adaptation to a new way of living and working as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

As you know, I joined CCEJ last Monday as Executive Director. Even though it’s been an unusual way to start a new job, it’s been a great past week learning with and from our staff and Board. Given the circumstances, our remote community building skills have elevated quite rapidly!

Since CCEJ’s work is grounded in relationships, our entire staff is thinking creatively about how we can continue to bring our community together online and over the phone to connect, share stories and experiences and continue to live out our values of justice, equity and inclusion.

We want to honor and recognize the experiences of people with loved ones who need additional care and support in this time, including children, elders, the differently-abled or immuno-compromised. We also want to thank all of those people who are keeping daily services running so that our community can continue to get the food, supplies, and medicine we need to stay healthy and safe.

Below, several of our staff share tips for taking care of ourselves in the days ahead. For myself, staying connected to the people in my life is really important during this time of uncertainty. I’ve been sending quick “You ok?” texts while making time for more phone calls than I normally would.

Please feel free to reach out with any questions, or to just say hello. There are many ways we can continue to be in beloved community at this time.

Reena Hajat Carroll & all of CCEJ’s staff

Alejandro Haezaert-House, Healing Harms Program Coordinator

I’ve been calling and reaching out to friends and family. Our friends have a group chat and have been posting any news we hear and checking in with each other. To manage any anxiety, I love spending time with my pets & going for walks. To find joy, I’ll be baking a lot of delicious bread and cooking! And to spark creativity, I’m prepping a D&D campaign for my friends to start playing online and then continue in person when we’ve got the all-clear.

Cárol Rojas, Building Bridges Program Coordinator (School Leadership)
To feel connected to others, I’ve been scheduling virtual group dates with friends and family, playing music with friends virtually, organizing a book club, text group check-ins. To manage worry or anxiety, I’ve been meditating daily, using meditation podcasts or Youtube Videos and moving my body (yoga, dance party, going on walks). I’ve been finding joy by playing with my puppy and playing board games, as well as keeping an online list of offerings of dance classes and yoga. Journaling and making meals from scratch keeps me feeling creative.
Gilbert Salazar, Training Coordinator (Innovations Development)
I’ve been calling family and friends that I don’t regularly communicate via phone call. It’s been really rewarding to hear so many voices in one day. For managing any worries or anxiety, I’ve been using essential oils of rosemary and eucalyptus, candles, music, and baking and cooking. My text threads with friends bring me laughter and joy. It’s been sparking my creativity to just see what I have in the kitchen and using it for a meal.
Kathleah Pagdilao, Director, Building Bridges for Youth Programs
Video calls are a great way to practice social distancing while getting some much needed time for human connection. I’ve been more intentional about starting each day with morning affirmations. I also created a daily schedule, so that I can hold myself accountable to taking time for food, rest, work, and joy. I’m finding joy in walking around my neighborhood or just stepping outside to catch a few moments of fresh air and sun. I’ve also been spending time with my husband and our dog, who is terrible at social distancing. As many of our volunteers and youth know, I LOVE puns and punny jokes. I’ve decided to compile a list of new puns and jokes so that when I see folks in person again, I can share them and see their reactions! I know it’s challenging for our community members to be apart from one another, and I find hope in knowing that we’ll be back in our Circles and back at Camp again soon…
Sarah Ogdie, Training Coordinator (Partnerships Development)
For my Heart: I’ve reached out to long-distance loved ones, connected with my partner & had intentional time speaking each other’s love languages, asked people in my life what they needed, set boundaries around how much I was willing/able to talk about COVID-19, and found positive news stories about people helping one another;
For my Mind: I like to read books, make iPad art, distract myself with new Netflix shows, and look at pictures of cute dogs. I’ve been finding accurate information that assesses realistic risk and setting personal boundaries around how much scrolling I allow myself to do;
For my Body : I’ve been using Eucalyptus & Epsom salt baths, comfort food (chocolate chip cookies & pizza!), nutrient-dense food, and having snuggles. I like to open windows for fresh air and city sounds, and I’ve been cleaning the house to make more space for nesting.


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