Resilience. It’s the essence of the Lotus flower, and the reason why we chose our name. As we reflect on 2020, we embrace resilience not only as the meaning behind our name and one of our six values, but also as a lesson we carry into the new year: Heeding the call of the sun each morning, the lotus sprouts from the mud, grows through challenging conditions toward the sunlight, and rises above the water’s surface to bloom with remarkable beauty.

Finding Strength in Supporting Each Other

Vickey Cowart is a case manager at Four Rivers Behavioral Health and a on-call hospital advocate for Lotus. She also serves as an advocate on the Lotus Survivors Council. Through her many roles, she sees how communities can create shared resilience.

“Resilience is being able to rise again after being knocked down. I see resilience not only in my clients but in the Lotus staff and the survivors. We’re all in this together and we all have to keep lifting each other up.” 

Vickey sees firsthand how the pandemic has weighed on our community. Families are navigating through existing trauma that has been compounded by the effects of COVID-19. As a social worker and advocate, Vickey encourages her clients and community to find strength in helping each other to keep going.

Through her work in the hospitals, Vickey has witnessed amazing testimonies of resilience this year. She says, “it amazes me what people can experience but then rise out of that—sometimes with more courage and strength than they had before.”

A woman sits in a chair while filling out forms at Lotus.

Survivors Council member Lynn Hayden reflects on how she experienced resilience in 2020.

Paving the Way for Hope, Healing, and Growth

Resilience can take physical form, too. To better serve clients and expand program offerings, Lotus kicked off its Sanctuary Project this year. The project transformed the Paducah campus of Lotus both inside and out, with additions including therapeutic gardens, a firepit, walking trails, and calming art installations.

Whitney Evans Snardon, board chair at Lotus, says this is an example of resiliency as an organization.

“I have seen resiliency put into action at Lotus with the renovation and expansion project. The purpose of the project was to expand services at Lotus by creating an expanded campus to meet the needs of the community. The project was intense and difficult, but the staff and the board were incredibly diligent in seeing it through.”

With the Sanctuary Project in its final stages, Lotus is now better equipped to serve survivors, children, and families in the community, and looks forward to doing so in full capacity as soon as is safe. Going through the renovation while finding creative ways to provide specialized services to the community this year was no easy feat. The Lotus staff had to be adaptable and resilient while navigating the public health crisis as well.

Children Teach Us Resilience

As the designated children’s advocacy center for the Purchase Area, the skilled professionals at Lotus provide comprehensive services to help child abuse victims and their supportive family members through the entire process from crisis through long-term recovery. As one step in the process, children talk with a forensic interviewer to share difficult things they have experienced or witnessed. Forensic interviewers have a front row seat to the inspiring resilience of the children they serve. Lotus forensic program coordinator, Nichole Wadley, witnesses resilience in children every day.

She says, “some of my favorite moments are when children tell their parents how proud they are of themselves after participating in a child forensic interview. I’ve seen little kids give their parents big smiles, saying, ‘I talked to that lady, and I wasn’t even scared!’ Or adolescents who tell me after discussing abuse that they feel better ‘just getting it all out.’ That’s pretty amazing.”

As a community, we can learn a lot about resilience from our children. In many ways, they are the most resilient examples we can follow.

“It never fails to inspire me when children just want to play, check out the walking labyrinth, or sit by our pond after talking about abuse or neglect. Despite hardship, they often remain hopeful and display an amazing capacity for healing,” says Nichole.

To Live Is To Reach Out

Lynn Hayden, a member of the Lotus Survivors Council, says resilience is an action. She says,

“Resilience is reaching out. I had never really reached out until I came to Lotus.” 

COVID-19 has created barriers to programs and services for many in our community. Lotus continues to provide services by telephone and telehealth, with in-person forensic services provided by appointment only. We can break through the isolation caused by the public health crisis by reaching out to loved ones and connecting them to services like the Lotus 24/7 Helpline.

Lynn says, as a survivor, “to live is to reach out.” We couldn’t agree more. As we look ahead toward a new year, we celebrate the resilience of our Lotus community and know that the possibilities of hope, healing, and growth are limitless.

Sarah is a community impact intern at Lotus. She is a junior at Murray State studying organizational communication and is passionate about working in the nonprofit sector one day.

What did resilience look like for you this year? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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