Thursday March 12th was a typical Girls Club at Streetlight. The girls filed off the bus, into the main room and headed straight for the snack table. Along the way they greeted each other with hugs and waved hello to the Girls Club leaders. March Break was about to begin on Monday, but a few of them had just heard the announcement that the Ontario government had issued an extended school closure for an extra two weeks. Three weeks off school! So exciting! The girls grabbed veggies and Two-Bite brownies from the snack table, and began to gather in the chairs for singing and a Bible lesson.
Following the lesson we played a game of seated volleyball. In this version of the game, players are confined to chairs placed a few feet apart and are only allowed to move as far as they can reach while seated. While this specific game may have been a small taste of social distancing restrictions that were to come, the high fives and hugs were evidence that we were still blissfully unaware of the impact of COVID-19. Since the schools were closing for an extra two weeks, we told the girls that we would also extend the break from our programs. We ended our evening in our usual fashion, singing together “Praise God from whom all Blessings Flow.”
The three week break extended another week… and another month and finally the full month of June. In this time, we have not been able to physically meet as a group. We have had Instagram Live events and Zoom meetings. The girls that are in grade eight have shared with us that they are sad about grad and are worried about going into high school unprepared. Everyone is feeling sluggish, bored and disliking online learning. Each of them is coping in different ways, including baking, reading and crafting. But some are just sleeping and existing.
When we meet via Zoom or even at their door-side, we encourage them to stay positive. We remind them that the God who is in control is always listening, and knows our sadness and fear. At a Zoom meeting, one of the girls asked that we finish by singing “Praise God.” We stared at the grid of faces before us, each with different internet streaming timing, and sang the doxology. It sounded awful but was strangely comforting at the same time. We may be restricted and limited in many ways, but we will always continue to praise our God and Saviour.
By Tracy Lynn Hoeksema, Mentor