March is usually a time for celebration and excitement in preparation for the upcoming spring weather, opening day for Major League Baseball, and of course the NCAA College Basketball Championships. The NCAA College Basketball Championship tournament is one example of how sports and athletics brings people from all walks of life together to cheer on and celebrate the excitement of sports in our society. The College Basketball tournament has been named “March Madness” because it consistently offers non-stop excitement for several weeks with interested parties from all over the country filling out brackets and watching hours of basketball. Bars and restaurants are packed with fans cheering on their favorite teams as they watch in anticipation of another potential bracket busting upset victory from a lower seeded team. Unfortunately, this March has a different look as the entire world is in complete chaos and shock while trying to navigate through the impact of COVID-19.
We are currently living out a nightmare of confusion and panic as we try to work through the severity and impact this virus will have on us personally and within our communities. As cases continue to rise, the traumatic impacts are beginning to take form with jobs being lost and businesses being forced to close down. Our daily routines have been disrupted and we are wisely being asked to stay home to help eliminate the spread of the virus. This ultimately leads to people being forced to show strength and resilience while finding ways to cope with the complexities associated with the virus. Unfortunately, this is a challenging task that will test the resolve of so many people struggling to make ends meet. Schools have been canceled to mitigate the spread of the virus, but what happens to those children that depend on the food they receive daily while at school? Or what about the single parent working an hourly wage to provide for their family and now their hours are being suspended or cut, or they have to take off to be at home to assist with childcare?
Nevertheless, many of these same underserved groups deal with various forms of toxic stress on a daily basis with little to no support, and the impact of this virus will only heighten the stress levels and dysfunction found in many households. This environmental concern will have long lasting effects on communities and individuals across the world. It is more evident now than ever before that we must pay more attention to providing services and support in order to build resilience and equip people with the opportunity to deal with adverse situations in positive ways. The key to creating systemic change is to think outside of the box and implement a plan that will allow for proactive measures instead of a reactive approach that continues to marginalize specific groups into the same struggles.
Our peak team curriculum is an example of a proactive approach to creating change within individuals, communities, and organizations. Implementing and offering our program can create a platform for individuals struggling with toxic stress to turn their lives around and build anew sense of hope and resiliency. As the world continues to combat the negative effects of the virus, please try to remain safe and hopeful as we search to find a way through this tragic pandemic. Although there will be long lasting impacts on us socially, emotionally, and financially we must be prepared for the social/emotional work required after the virus has been mitigated to truly create change and show all people that they matter and play an important role in shaping our society.