A podcast about looking for the helpers during the pandemic. Taking a cue from Mr. Rogers, host Kelly Jones and her daughter, June, set out to find brave, creative problem solvers who are supporting their communities in the era of social distancing. Each week, they explore how people are helping and then sit down with experts who can answer our most pressing pandemic questions and give practical advice on how to become helpers ourselves. Visit vpm.org/helpers for more information on how you can help.
Recovery and the New Normal
What does life look like after the coronavirus--both in the literal sense of surviving a COVID-19 diagnosis, and in the figurative sense as we think about what our "new normal" could look like once we've successfully contained the virus' spread?
We heard from Letha Mullins, a West Virginia-based nurse who contracted COVID-19 in April, about what it feels like to have the virus, and what recovery looks like.
As we bring Social Distance Assistance to a close (for now, at least), we also checked in with helpers from episodes throughout the season for updates and a look ahead to their hopes for a post-coronavirus world.
We're excited to share the first episode of VPM's new podcast, Resettled. In this six-part series, we showcase stories of refugees as they adjust to their new lives in Virginia. From navigating the healthcare system to graduating from high school, we share in the intimate moments of refugees' lives and explore the policies shaping their futures. Each episode explores a specific theme in their journeys upon arrival to Virginia. We hear about what it’s like to: perform on stage in a non-native language, overcome past trauma in a new country, and budget for a family with no credit history or transferrable degree. These personal stories are woven together with useful teaching moments about the resettlement process. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and visit vpm.org/resettled for additional content and resources.
Grieving Without Gathering
Grief is our internal process of dealing with loss, but coping with that grief requires external support. So, how can we process loss without being together?
For losses of well-known public figures, it can look like a virtual gathering of strangers to share their collective memories and reflect on the global impact the person made. For personal loss, like that of a family member, it may mean making do with a less-than-ideal memorial service now with plans for a grandiose celebration of life once it's feasible to be around each other again.
When you hear the word grief, the first thing you typically think of is death. But we're all experiencing another type of grief due to the pandemic - disenfranchized grief, over the loss of the lives we once had. We spoke with a grief counselor about how unique the grieving process is, methods for coping and reasons to be grateful even when it seems like hope is lost.
Nature Is Healing - Are We The Virus?
The global response to the coronavirus had some unexpected positive outcomes for the environment. Not long after people began sheltering-in-place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, a number of environmental issues that had previously been chalked up to a simple byproduct of human life began clearing up - everything from improved air quality to wildlife reclaiming spaces.
So, if removing humans and their creations from the equation means the planet thrives, is that something we can learn from and apply to whatever "new normal" we create once the pandemic is under control?
Maria Algarra has organized volunteer cleanups of community spaces in Miami Beach, Florida through her group, Clean This Beach Up (instagram.com/cleanthisbeachup), to cut down on the massive amount of PPE that's now being discarded - things like gloves, masks and other cleaning supplies that are wreaking havoc on animal populations.
Leslie Sturges has worked as a bat rehabilitator for 20 years, and campaigns to save them from a disease called White Nose Syndrome (savelucythebat.org). Now, she's helping by keeping bats safe from contracting COVID-19 from humans and ensuring they continue to play their essential role in the ecosystem.
Tina Johnson is the director of the National Black Environmental Justice Network (nbejn.com), and is focused on how the coronavirus has disproportionately impacted communities of color, along with a host of other factors influenced by environmental racism. She's dedicated to ensuring a fair, just and equitable environment for the human population moving forward as well.
Humanity changing its habits to save the planet may be easier said than done, but with helpers like Maria, Leslie and Tina, we can be hopeful for a future where we are no longer a detriment to our environment.
Social Justice Assistance
Massive, in-person protests have been taking place around the world every day since the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25. Protesting is fundamentally at odds with the concept of social distancing, but thousands of people are making the decision to march in solidarity with Black lives. Thankfully, the majority of those people are taking precautions to keep themselves and others as safe as possible while doing so.
We hear about the positive role vehicles are playing in protests—a surprising shift from the events in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017—and also speak a with Minneapolis-based rapper-turned-medic who has organized a volunteer medical force to help save lives at the epicenter of the protests.
Revisited: Meet the Mask Makers
With the national conversation focused on police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, we're taking a break from new episodes this week. However, we did want to take this time to revisit and make some updates to our first episode, on the subject of masks, as so much has changed over the past 8 weeks.
We'll also be back with a new episode on Tuesday, June 16 on how to safely and effectively speak out for social justice in the midst of a global pandemic.
Why are so many people trying their hands at sewing homemade masks? Making a mask not only helps the wearers feel safe, it helps the maker feel useful and part of a movement. We speak with members of an Atlanta-based volunteer group that’s been able to deliver more than 13,000 masks to their local hospital system, hear why a long-time sewist only started making masks in the past week, and even make a couple masks ourselves. Visit vpm.org/helpers for more information. Music by Blue Dot Sessions.
This podcast is made by a local public media company, but it isn’t just a great local podcast. This is a great podcast: full-stop! I love listening to this show. It is heart-felt, informative, clever, and rewarding. Well done!
Deep and adorable
A difficult combo but they manage to excel at it.