A community united: Residents helping other residents

Kendal at Oberlin was an active community before the pandemic, with dozens of resident-led committees. During lockdown, residents redirected their energy toward helping other residents in-need and creating new programs to tackle pandemic-related issues.

Residents pitched in to keep Kendal running:

Mail delivery: "There were teams of residents who delivered the packages to other residents so that people weren't back there. There were residents who delivered the papers in the mornings because the paper delivery couldn't come in anymore. So residents were doing huge amounts for other residents." - Former Oberlin Resident

Grocery shopping for the Care Center: "I started doing shopping for the Care Center once every couple months...And again I thought, I can shop! I know where things are at IGA. Maybe someday I’ll be in the Care Center and I’ll have a craving for chocolate and I’ll need someone to pick up some chocolate." - Dianne Haley

Sending holiday spirit to the Care Center: "We did caroling outside and around the Care Center. Or some people umm organized putting up holiday lights for the people in the Care Center. And then the people in the Care Center said that they really liked seeing the holiday lights, so we asked everyone who lived in a cottage that could be seen from the Care Center to put out holiday lights so that there was sort of this sharing of holiday lights." - Elizabeth Hole

Reaching out to lonely Kendal residents:

Establishing a Zoom group for residents in need: "I was part of a group that helped organize an afternoon time when any resident could just drop in on Zoom at 4 on weekdays. We didn’t get a lot of people, but we got a few people who really needed to talk." - Elizabeth Hole

Organizing a support group for single residents: "A group of us four of us and this was a real–this was a big deal and I’d kind of forgotten how much time it took. We formed a group to specifically reach out to people who were alone and set up meeting groups of 6 people...And I remember the first meeting in this room and people were just stunned that we could sit down and have a conversation with each other because that had just vanished. And that was pretty successful, we kept that going." - Dianne Haley

Sending hand-made cards to a friend: "And for a while my friend across–Judi Bachrach–she lives right across the way here. She was going through a bad time with her back over part of the summer. It was September/October. Where she wasn’t able to get out of bed and stuff. And she was, I don’t know if depressed, but down. So I decided to paint her a picture every day. And I did it every day for like two weeks." - Former Geriatric Nurse

Residents are proud of the Kendal community's ability to persevere, innovate, and come together:

Feeling the camaraderie: "You know there was a lot of 'we're in this together' and people who really hated that. I didn't. I really feel I'm one of those camaraderie people. We're in this together! And I really felt that. I really felt how important it was to participate in a community where we were committed to keeping each other safe." - Former Oberlin Resident

Coming together to innovate: "This being Oberlin and I think this comes–I hate to say this because it makes me sound like an Oberlin groupie, but one of the things I loved about the college when I was here is the ability of people to innovate, to create their own stuff. So we started trying to do that." - Larry Mirel

Feeling energized by all the intelligent neighbors: "We don’t have a social director. You know we do a lot, 84, 85, 86 committees? I mean we’re a busy group. And they do it because they love to do it. I think one of the problems is that we all think we’re in management. And you know then they said, but you’re not in management. But, but for the most part we have a lot of people with a lot of–I’ve always said that everybody here is smarter than I am, which is wonderful! To feel that energized, in talking to people and being with people." - Janet Kelsey Werner