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Quarantine Can't Steal Our Souls: How I Embarked on a “Senior” Service Project during the Pandemic

By Lori Huertas

When we became quarantined due to COVID-19 as a Barry University staff member and graduate student, I thought, how can help others during these times? As a recruiter, the desire for human interaction was a part of my inner being especially since my love language is physical touch and my Myers Briggs personality is an ENFJ (you will have to read my future articles for details on this). 

I thought of how to put Barry University’s mission statement of “Learn, Reflect, and Serve” into action.

I had to be intentionally outwardly focused, which at first was not an easy task. My only son was away in the Army. My first grandson was also born, and I had not had an opportunity to hold him since he was living in a different state.

Photo Credit to NPR

Suddenly, I remembered Mother Theresa and how one day they brought her a widower. This man had lost his wife and daughter in a car accident. After Mother Theresa prayed with the man, she asked him, "What are you going to do with all of that love? He shrugged his shoulders. 

She looked at him with eyes of compassion and said, "Go share your heart with others."

In that same Barry University spirit of service, I prayed about ways to help others. I was asked to be a part of an adopt-a-senior program. Senior came to mean more than one age group.

Firstly, since high school seniors were unable to attend their commencement ceremonies, community members adopted them to encourage them. I, myself, adopted three seniors and gifted them with Barry Swag. 

Photo Credit to Great Bridge Links

The mother of one of the seniors worked at a local nursing home. I asked how the elderly were doing and she explained that they were depressed because they cancelled in-person bingo games due to COVID. I asked if they would be interested in a Virtual Bingo. They got excited. After I did the first one, the director emailed to thank me, stating that she had not seen them smile and laugh in a while.

In that moment, I remember my spiritual mom telling me that life is all about the three T’s, giving of your time, talent, and treasure to serve others.

May each Barry University student remember that your kindness to others during these times makes a difference. I also used my isolation time to write a song that was recorded for my grandson called “Abuela’s Love” that is now shared with military children.

That is not all. I started a YouTube channel, called Story Time with Abuela,” which teachers are now using for their virtual reading classes virtually. 

We are BARRY. Our heart of service is what sets us apart.

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