May 28, 2023

It was impossible to foresee the events that led to the global pandemic of COVID-19. However, if history has taught us anything, it’s that the family and community units have potential to become even stronger and more resilient when placed under pressure.

Many California Baptist University students experienced this familial and communal strengthening first hand over the summer, which has been characterized as one crisis after another. 

In a time when certainty on any issue seems like a philosophy of the past, students have buckled down with their families and communities, refusing to give in to fear, and have helped one another in any way possible.

Anthony Navarro, junior psychology major, personally rose to the occasion of aiding his family through the uncertainty and took responsibility for his family and community units.

“I picked up the slack for a few of the adults in my house, and really made an effort to help out as much as I could,” Navarro said. “We mostly just needed to stay tight and connected, and we were able to do that through planning safe activities to pass the time.”

Zachary Cleek, junior graphic design major, had similar experiences to Navarro during the summer months and contributed however he could to his family’s safety.

“My focus was to especially be helping my mom, who wanted to go visit her parents,” Cleek said. “My dad and I were able to talk her out of it, encouraging her to keep them and herself safe by staying home. Also, being there for my sister when she was laid off from her job, which was very stressful.”

Maintaining a constant presence with one’s family and community is never an easy task, but it is perhaps now more important than ever. Communities need each other. Families need each other. 

We are not built to run the marathon of life by ourselves; it was never in God’s plan that we should exist alone. This truth becomes more evident with every new COVID-19 report and during difficult times like these.

Prof. Trevor Mannion, adjunct political science professor, echoes what students have done to aid their families during this season of the pandemic.

“When life becomes not so certain you tend to reach out more or try to be around to cherish what you realize is not quite so permanent,” Mannion said. “This obviously is a crisis and I find myself driven more to just try to reach out and check on my family. I feel like me checking on them helps them cope with this crazy 2020 we are all enduring. At the core, just being there for people, even from some required distance helps people to realize we are all in this together as a species and can lift each other up in these unfamiliar times.”

Familial strength, communal strength and prayer are all needed during this turbulent time. Making an impact during a pandemic may look different, however, students and faculty of CBU alike have both truly risen to the occasion and with their continued persistence and faith in God, it is much easier to remain optimistic.

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