Hope Notes: Let’s Send Messages of Hope and Happiness!
When I said goodbye to my brother on March 16th, I had no idea it would be this long before I saw him again. His home has been on lockdown since that day and remains quarantined. I understand the need to isolate, and I appreciate that my brother is in a safe place. I’m forever grateful to his exceptional staff who have tried their best to make it a happy time despite no field trips or visitors. Even though I’m thankful he’s safe and healthy, the separation is not easy for either of us. Before Covid-19, we had never gone more than a month without seeing one another since our mother died in July of 2010.
My brother doesn’t understand why we can’t get together and play basketball, one of our shared hobbies.
Numerous times, I’ve explained to my brother why I’m not there to take him shopping, out to eat, or for a sleepover at my house. He doesn’t fully comprehend; he only knows it’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other. One of the highlights of my brother’s day is when he gets mail, so I asked my Facebook friends to help me out. Thankfully, my friends responded with great generosity and have gone out of their way to send him cards and letters. My brother is lucky because he has family, but many living in homes do not have family involved and rarely get mail.
TARC is an advocacy group in Tulsa for people with intellectual or developmental delays and their families. They are sponsoring a letter-writing campaign called Hope Notes for people who are in group homes and Intermediate Care Facilities in Oklahoma. There are approximately 60,000 Oklahomans with intellectual disabilities or developmental disabilities, and about 1,500 of those people live in group homes or Intermediate Care Facilities. Because of Covid-19, the homes have been in quarantine and have not allowed visitors since the middle of March.
According to TARC executive director Lisa Turner, “Like so many Oklahomans, people with I/DD are also struggling with the change in daily routines due to the coronavirus. They don’t always understand why they can’t go to a day program or work, and many of them are missing visits from family members. Hope Notes is a way for Oklahomans to show people with I/DD that we care about them and are experiencing the same struggles they are during this pandemic.”
How to Participate
TARC will collect letters, cards, and drawings from June 15th until June 30th and then distribute to homes throughout Oklahoma. Mail notes, letters, cards or drawings to:
HOPE NOTES c/o Friends at TARC
2516 E. 71st St. Suite A
Tulsa, OK 74136
Another option is to Email attached notes, letters, cards or drawings to:
Subject Line: Hope Notes
Because I know what the positive effect letters and cards have on my brother, I am excited about the idea of everyone who lives in a home getting mail. Wouldn’t it be great if every single person living in a group home or residential facility received a message of hope and love!
Here are my top ten reasons you should take part in this letter-writing campaign.
- You can make a positive difference in someone’s day!
- Not only will the recipient feel better, but you will also feel great for having done it!
- I can’t think of an easier way to volunteer!
- Get your kids of all ages involved. It’s a good lesson in the importance of caring about others and the giving of time.
- Shifting the focus onto someone else is a temporary relief from thinking about our own problems.
- You have some free time right now; you know you do. Put it to good use!
- It’s easy, and it’s cheap.
- Think about how happy it made you the last time you got a card or letter in the mail. I got one today, and it made me smile for hours.
- Because you’re a kind person who cares about other people.
- Because I’m asking you, pretty please?
Who wouldn’t love to get a card, letter, or drawing the mail? Please take a few moments and make someone’s day happier!