Summer Recap with Erica
The final instalment in The Accessible Normal: a summer series on the impact of lockdowns on the neuro-diverse community.
Find new articles through Good Foot every Thursday, all summer long.
Is it really September already?! With all the events we hosted at Good Foot this summer, we’ve had an amazing season and it’s been fun to share these memories with you. If you’ve been following along with our blog this summer, you’ve been able to meet Good Foot Couriers, parents, and office staff, and learn about their experiences over the past year. But there’s one person you haven’t really met – and that’s me! I’m Erica, the author and person behind the camera, and it’s been a privilege to spend this summer writing stories.
I started working at Good Foot in June after a gruelling winter completing a Masters degree at the University of Toronto. I love school, but after 8 straight months of Zoom classes and online learning, I was burnt out beyond belief. It was exhausting and isolating to be stuck inside during lockdowns, and I struggled to feel the tangible impacts of anything that I was doing.
Working at Good Foot was an instant reset for my burnt out brain. Instead of spending hours alone at the computer every day, I was able to come into the Good Foot office and get to know my colleagues. There is always a vibrant energy in the office, especially as the Couriers started coming back to work and social events began taking place in person. I was able to talk to everyone and learn about Good Foot’s impact on their lives. I was able to work with a team who earnestly wanted to make a difference in the lives of individuals who they now considered friends.
Through writing this series, I got to go out almost every week with Couriers on their delivery routes to learn more about them and their experience working at Good Foot. My aim was to ask a few questions about the impact of COVID and lockdowns, but we always ended up chatting about shared hobbies and interests as well. One day I’d be talking about Lord of the Rings, the next day I would get to see a whole photo library of someone’s Lego creations.
I was always learning something amazing about the hobbies and hidden talents of my colleagues, and we always could find something in common.
The best part about writing this summer has been hearing from Couriers, staff, parents, and partners about the positive impacts that Good Foot has had on their lives. I’ve heard about new apartments that people have moved into, and exciting new placements found through the IUO program. I’ve heard from people who are shyly getting more involved in Good Foot events, and from the social butterflies who were sustained by Good Foot’s virtual events in the winter. I was writing a lot about Good Foot’s impact on other people, but I could feel the community impacting me too, as my burnout subsided and I felt more like myself again.
Working for Good Foot this summer has reminded me why I love telling stories. It’s easy to write when you feel the impact of your work, and at Good Foot, I’ve been lucky enough to feel that every day. Organizations like Good Foot really are so important for the neuro-diverse community; not only are they a safe place to be valued, but it’s a place where people are encouraged to learn and grow. I have been lucky to learn so much about why Good Foot matters to the people who work here.
This summer’s blog was all about finding community in tough times, and I know that Good Foot is a community that I’ll hold in my heart for a long time to come.
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