Welcome to Daily SPARC – each weekday our chaplains, friends from the Penn Religious Communities Council and other voices from campus will be posting messages of support and encouragement. ⠀⠀⠀⠀

Today’s Daily SPARC is on noticing how communities can celebrate during this time of social distancing:

Celebration while social distancing calls for creative thinking and can be an opportunity for community building.  Lia Howard, Student Advising and Wellness Director for the SNF Paideia Program noticed this firsthand when she went to plan her six-year old’s birthday party.

A week before her daughter was to turn six a handwritten note went up on the refrigerator with some detailed instructions on how the day should be spent—with spa treatments and a movie. Lia took a picture and incorporated the note into an invitation that asked friends to celebrate by watching a movie or having a spa treatment in her daughter’s honor and sending pictures. She also gave a time frame where people who wanted could drive by their home and sing. The family was overwhelmed by the creative displays of kindness from their community. Not only did they receive fun pictures, but many people drove or walked by and sang. Neighbors, seeing friends drive by with balloons and signs, also joined in singing and giving birthday wishes. One neighbor, who the Howard family had not yet met, even came over with a gift for their daughter. “I am constantly surprised by the kindness of our community. My daughter, who decided to dress as a princess to greet her friends, was able to see strangers and friends alike celebrating her birthday with genuine enthusiasm. Community was built around celebrating our six-year-old and we are deeply grateful.” Neighborhoods, even while respecting social distancing rules, are able to strengthen the bonds of community through celebration. #socialdistance #snaps #community #celebration#neighbors #wellness