Published in the Sullivan County Democrat on April 10th, titled: Letters of Hope for our Community.

To Our Community,

Challenging hardly feels like an adequate word to describe what all of our Sullivan County friends are facing, and what all of us at The Center for Discovery are living. To be honest, we prepare every day like we are going into battle. We have no option – we have to plan this way in order to protect our students, residents, and our entire staff. But every single day as the whole world wrestles with this awful pandemic, without fail, we see signs of inspiration and hope.

As the weather warms, and the flowers begin to bloom, there are the scenes of rebirth around campus as our adult and pediatric residents plant fresh new gardens, gather for outdoor sing along songs (six feet apart), or dance along to Zumba classes via Zoom. Some of our adults who live on Main Street in Hurleyville entertain us from their porch with a news and comedy show, “The Porch & Puns Report”, to keep everyone laughing and focused on the message that there are no limits to human potential.

Our Passover Seder tradition of nearly 20 years continues uninterrupted as our Music Therapy team, in masks, laughed, danced, and sang their joyous songs of liberation for a virtual Seder that is shared across our organization. There is also no better sign of the rebirth that Easter symbolizes than our young adults working on egg production – collecting, washing, crating, and packing eggs from the farm. Or our young adults racing down to the greenhouse to seed and plant herbs and flowers – flowers that epitomize the hope of springtime.

But perhaps what inspires me the most, and fills me with hope, is witnessing our 1700 staff members during these stressful days. They dress in costume, they decorate with sidewalk chalk, they send inspiring messages, and they back each other up. They absolutely refuse to stop. I have never seen anything like it.

And so I am honored to share words of hope with you – our Sullivan County community – because community is a word we are thinking so much about these days. We have been forced by this pandemic to be physically distant, but our community at The Center for Discovery – our staff, our administration, and our residents – has never felt more bound together. All of us are inspired by the work we do, by those we care for, and by those who care for them.  And we are sure that we will get through this together – and come out of it stronger than ever before. That is a hope we are sure will become a reality.


Patrick H. Dollard

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