Adapting to “new reality” of social distancing

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David Winker, Esq. is a business attorney in Miami.

The maxim, “When one door shuts, another is opened,” was quoted most famously in Miguel de Cervantes’s 1605 classic Don Quixote.

The inherent optimism of Cervantes’ statement still resonates over 400 years later as our community reacts in creative ways to the societal changes brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The resiliency of local businesses and institutions in embracing the challenge of shutting down huge swaths of our economy in order to “flatten the curve” is inspiring and shows that the economy never truly shuts down, it just shifts into new opportunities.

South Florida Music and Dancehouse ensure kids continue arts education at home

Parents and their kids are adapting to remote learning as area schools look like they will remain closed through the end of the school year.

Dr. Joy Galliford, founder of South Florida Music www.southfloridamusic.org, has converted her music education program, which provides classes to newborns through age nine, to virtual online classes using YouTube and Zoom platforms.

Dr. Joy said she saw the opportunity to provide continuity through music lessons for parents and kids whose life has been turned upside down.

“To begin with, I really dislike the term ‘social distancing’ as what we are doing is physical distancing,” said Dr. Joy.  “We have to embrace the amazing technology we have in order to ensure that we are providing the “social connection” we need as humans and I believe music is a big part that connection.”

Dr. Joy also said that there is a selfish element to all the hard work she and her team have put into developing their online music education program.  “Frankly, music education is at the core of my being and I miss these kids terribly,” said Dr. Joy.  “The connection we have through music is something we can all hang onto in times of uncertainty and stress.”

Dancehouse Miami http://dhmiami.com/, a dance studio on Coral Way in the Roads, also was forced to move its dance classes, which include ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary and acro, to Zoom. 

Founder Rochelle Fereira said she quickly moved dance instruction online after the cancellation of a couple of important regional dance competitions the weekend before the stay at home orders went into effect. 

“The girls were very upset that competitions they have been working toward all year were postponed and I wanted to show them the importance of never giving up and figuring out a way to continue to achieve your goals no matter what is happening around you,” said Fereira.  “It is  also important that the girls have a constructive way to work off energy when they are cooped up in their house every day, and it also provides a much needed opportunity to see and interact with their friends.”

Kashwére supporting “work from home” style

A luxury supplier of spa products to some of the finest hotels and spas in the world, Kashwére is helping millions of Americans embrace the “new normal” of working from home.

With its high end hotel and spa clientele shut down until the lockdown is lifted, Kashwére is focusing on providing those “sheltering in place” with some much needed “luxury” at home by making available its ultrasoft chenilla line of robes, loungewear, throws and footwear at a 20% discount.

“We are so grateful for the love, support, and courage of the people around us. From our own families sheltering with us, to the larger human family, we’re all in this together,” said CEO and Owner Merri Gleckler.

To show its gratitude, Kashwére is providing an across the board 20% discount off its entire collection at www.kashwere.com through May 1st (code: KHUG20).  In addition, Kashwére is  donating an additional 10% of every purchase through May 1st to www.directrelief.org, an organization dedicated to getting healthcare workers the supplies they need to stay safe and do their jobs.

Historic Coconut Grove Plymouth Church uses technology to drive connection

Historic Plymouth Congregational Church, which has been serving the Coconut Grove community since 1897, has also embraced technology to maintain connection during the pandemic.

Like most churches worldwide, Plymouth closed its sanctuary to in-person worship.  So the normally vibrant church grounds, which hold Sunday services and are home to a preschool and numerous Alcoholics Anonymous and other church and community meetings, are eerily quiet under social distancing.

But by utilizing Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, and good old-fashioned phone calls, as well as making creative use of video, Plymouth is continuing to meet the needs of parishioners through on-line worship, study of the Bible and fellowship, for all ages.

“As Jesus reminded us all at the Last Supper when he washed his disciple’s feet, he calls us to ‘love one another, as I have loved you,’” said Plymouth Senior Pastor Rev. Al Bunis.  “Therefore, we must look out for each other’s well-being, and while that requires social distancing, it also inspires us to do all we can to stay connected using all the tools we have.  We are fortunate to live in a time with so many wonderful tools.”   

For example, Plymouth has moved its four weekly Bible study groups onto Zoom, and conducts multiple weekly fellowship Zoom meet-ups for adults, young adults, and parents with young children.   In addition, Sunday school for kids is posted online on Friday, and Sunday worship is broadcast at 10:00 A.M. on Sundays at www.plymouthmiami.org/. 

“Plymouth has also created a “Corona Care” team who are reaching out to every member of the church,” said Pastor Al.  “This ministry includes some of our Sunday School and Youth Group kids, who are writing letters to our elder members.  Pastor Moira and I get lumps in our throats when we see these letters.” 

Sam S. Accursio & Sons Farm makes freshly harvested seasonal produce available

The shutdown of eat-in dining has caused a surplus of fruits and vegetables and Sam S. Accursio & Sons Farm in Homestead (1225 NW 2nd St 305-246-3455) is giving back to the community by allowing South Florida residents to pick up farm fresh food at very reasonable prices.

“We are in harvest and were backing up and had to make decision,” said Accursio.  “We decided to help the community and help ourselves by getting our produce directly to residents.” 

Charging $10 for a ten pound crate of freshly harvested seasonal produce, including squash, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, okra, tomatoes and blueberries, the farm has set up an efficient system allowing people to pull up, pop their trunk and have everything they want put into their trunk without leaving their vehicle.

Accursio said the response has been gratifying and overwhelming.  “Consumers want safe, fresh food sourced locally and we have decided that when our season begins in October we are going to continue making our seasonal produce available directly to residents.”

Supporting local business is critical

This pandemic is reminding us once again that we really are all in this together.  Supporting local business through the crisis, as well as when we are able to fire the economy back up, is critical in healing our community and getting back to doing the things we love… with each other.


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