In mid-March 2020, I was on my fourth year of in-person volunteering with the kids receiving therapeutic care, support, and love at Hephzibah Home. Then, thanks to COVID, everything changed and I was cut off from the sweet, funny, resilient children I had come to know and cherish. I shifted gears and found remote ways to let them know that I was thinking of them and cared about them, but all seemed poor substitutes for in-person interaction.

As difficult as the separation was for me, being separated from in-person volunteers, friends at school, and everyone else who wasn’t a Hephzibah staff member was very isolating to Hephzibah’s kids and made recovery from past traumas in their lives even more difficult.

Of course, there were similar situations occurring everywhere. In one way or another, we were all struggling, stressed, and feeling isolated for more than two years.

While everyday life still poses challenges, I’m extremely grateful for the advances that have made a return to normal life possible for so many of us. In-person block parties, festivals, concerts, and a multitude of other events are back.

Hephzibah Children’s Association, after a long period of protecting its children, families, and staff, is now able to celebrate the freedom to mingle again with a Halloween Fun Run and Walk. The event is scheduled to take place in River Forest on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 30. Everyone in the community is encouraged to don their best Halloween costume and attend this family-friendly event, which will include a fun warm-up period for kids, a DJ, great giveaways, and a mile-and-a-half run — or stroll — through beautiful River Forest.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend an in-person community celebration supporting Hephzibah. This area institution, which has been serving Illinois children and families for 125 years, knows how to throw an event full of fun for everyone.

Anyone interested in attending the Hephzibah Halloween Fun Run/Walk can find information on the event and sign up through this link:

Beth Cannon grew up in Oak Park and is currently a member of Hephzibah’s Oak Park Auxiliary Board.

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