Class of 2020 Project:
Leadership Takes Action to Support the Community during Covid
We Pivot to a Volunteer Force Starting in the Fall of 2019, our Leadership Manhattan Beach (LMB) class worked our way toward what we thought would be a meaningful project to contribute to the city of Manhattan Beach. We settled on the idea of donating water refilling stations to the city and placing them in strategic locations in order to support already active city sustainability efforts. In this way, we would be supporting the environment and reducing dependence on single use plastic water bottles for residents in our community enjoying what our local beaches and parks have to offer. We also figured that a public education campaign would go a long way to encouraging the use of the existing and new water refilling stations and planned to have a presence in our local papers and at this year’s Eco-Festival. However, in early March of 2020, it started to become evident that despite already having applied for and received $4000 in grant money from the West Basin Water District for our project, the remainder of our fund-raising plans would have to be scrapped. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health had issued a “safer-at-home” order due to the spread of COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus, and we were now required to stay home except for activities deemed essential, like grocery shopping, working in the health care industry or on the front lines at grocery stores. Our project was stalled and we had to pivot, to find a new project and a new purpose. The suggestion was made that since our community was heading into anxious times due to the potential spread of COVID-19, that our leadership would prove most valuable if we could turn our efforts toward assisting residents and organizations during this difficult time. We began to investigate opportunities to be of help – to family, to neighbors, to organizations – in a manner each of us found personally meaningful. We sought to share what we were doing and inspire each other to do as much as possible. Some projects became collaborative, and some remained completed on an individual basis. Some people stepped up within their work environments due to the need for new protocols with regard to safety, or to help clients facing the necessity to pivot their message or products to meet changing needs as warranted by the new reality. Some people created products or expanded ones they had already developed. Others were required to turn their energies to help family members who were ill or vulnerable and couldn’t provide for themselves in the usual way.