The Impact of a Smile--Even Through a Mask

If you have ever visited the Sandefur Center, you know we love to laugh and can’t help but smile. That has been difficult to see while wearing our masks all day. This week, we witnessed first-hand how contagious a smile can be, even if it is hidden behind a mask.

The concrete portion of our new sensory garden is nearing completion, and we have watched the construction crew take great care to create a masterpiece for us. On Thursday, they filled in the dirt and readied the ground for the next phase. That afternoon as a participant and I finished her afternoon walk, I asked the construction crew if we could walk around the walking path they had created for us. They stood back working on the next project and the participant and I stepped up on the new walking path for the first time.

This participant played a pivotal role in the creation of the garden. She attended the POW! Partnership of Women dinner with me and spoke about the garden. It was her passion that helped us gain enough votes to walk away with the prize, so she has been invested in this project from the beginning. Every day we walk by the construction site and discuss what progress has been made and what may happen next.

As we traveled along our new walking area, I asked her how she liked it. She mumbled under her breath that it was good. I looked down at her face, and even through her mask, I could tell she was beaming. Then I looked up and noticed that the construction crew had paused to watch her inaugural walk, and they were full of smiles, too. Sometimes all it takes is a look or a facial expression to overwhelm you with emotion. It was the most beautiful experience I have witnessed since this pandemic began.

So today is Friday, and already we have walked on the path twice. Even another participant who hates to walk walked for ten minutes on the path this morning. We are already loving it, and It’s not even done yet. The best is yet to come!!!!

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