Susanna Elsen is a childcare provider in Hill City. In 2020, Blandin Foundation awarded three grants totaling $50,000 to support childcare providers in the Itasca area.
“As I think through the biggest impact that COVID-19 has had, there are many small things that pop into my mind. These small things combined have created a unique song and dance as a childcare provider. Young children get sick often. Knowing how to decipher the usual cold or sickness from COVID-19 is one of these “small” ways we have been impacted.
Helping to continue to provide care for these children while still supporting my own family at the same time is another way we have been affected. Although I have a teaching degree, helping to teach my son during distance learning last spring, while caring for four other children of varying ages at the same time, proved to be a new and interesting situation for me.
I feel that we have had to ask ourselves so many questions regarding what we do in and out of daycare hours to ensure we’re all helping each other stay healthy and well. The families I work with are fabulous and I am grateful for all they are doing! We have learned that we are all in this together in some ways.
The community has done so much during this pandemic that has made me feel so grateful to live in a smaller community. My husband works at the high school and I have many friends who are educators. Teachers and school staff are working hard to navigate the “new normal” since March. I am thankful for a community that has worked hard to step up during a difficult time.
As I look ahead to 2021, I am hopeful for the vaccine. I am hopeful for health. I am hopeful for moving forward in life using the life lessons and perspective I gained during this time. Some of these lessons are ones that I can, in some way, share with others. The perspective will be something that will carry my family and I through what we will face in the future.”