Wellness in Tough Times

Peru, Nebraska

Peru continues to be in long-term recovery from the 2019 flooding that affected the town’s access to fresh water and wastewater systems. The effects and uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic were creating additional challenges for the residents. After some tough times, the town decided to focus some of their WTT project efforts on community events during the December 2020 holiday season. With a little creativity, events and activities were planned that celebrated the holiday spirit and still followed directed health measures. Crafting supplies were delivered to residents at home so they could make ornaments to decorate a tree in the town square. A gingerbread house decorating contest took place virtually. One evening the volunteer fire department drove Santa Claus around town in a brightly lit and

Peru City Hall; photo credit: Julien Hoffman

Santa at the Peru Community Parade; photo credit: Julien Hoffman

Homemade ornament on the tree in the city square; photo credit: Julien Hoffman

One of the stores decorated in the main city square; photo credit: Julien Hoffman

decorated fire truck to spread cheer and raise the spirits of residents, continuing its annual tradition of a holiday parade with modifications for physical distancing. By mid-2020, residents saw a need for an outdoor community gathering space and erected a shelter in their park.

Bassett, Nebraska

The citizens of Bassett chose to invite a motivational speaker to visit their high school students in the spring of 2021 as a part of their WTT project. The speaker used a mixture of humor, personal anecdotes, and information on mental well-being to encourage the graduating seniors to look to the future and become their best selves. The speaker also used humor to relate to the audience and put them at ease, making it easier to have an open discussion about normally difficult topics. This was powerful, because it encouraged students to, in turn, be more open around one another about their mental well-being and feelings. An article about this community event appeared in the local newspaper.

Lessons Learned  Be prepared to pivot when necessary.

 Celebrate that communities each have their own unique vision for a project.

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