Published: November 29, 2021
The annual meeting of the Kendal at Oberlin Residents Association (KORA) took place a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, and the president’s report was full of items to be thankful for.
“We have learned how to live in this COVID world,” Mary Behm told a packed house, with residents joining the meeting both in Heiser Auditorium and via Zoom.
2021 Highlights include:
- “We celebrate being vaccinated” – 100% of residents and 98% of staff are vaccinated (those unvaccinated have medical or religious exemptions);
- “We continued to welcome new residents” – Kendal’s occupancy rate remains high, currently at 95%;
- “We are grateful for the Kendal staff's exemplary service while they also dealt with COVID-caused difficulties” – Many staff members worked long hours because their departments were short-handed and did so with kindness, thoughtfulness, and compassion;
- “Look back at all the activities listed in Kendalight” – From Lifelong Learning and exercise classes to dog pack walks and English Country dancing, residents are back to participating in healthy, engaging and educational activities;
- “The Joint Technology Committee examined options for a new website and chose Viibrant. We are very grateful to the administration for providing funds” – KORA’s new state-of-the-art website will combine administrative needs such as work orders and dining reservations with resident information and a link to the art database;
- “We’re delighted that Kendal transportation in now taking us to Oberlin College and Conservatory performances." Yes, OC has opened its doors to the outside community too;
- “And now we’ll be able to have meals together in the dining rooms for Thanksgiving” – Residents have sorely missed eating together and communal dining has now returned with some changes.
Speaking of New Residents
Nick and Lillie Long moved to Kendal at Oberlin from Louisiana at the very beginning of the COVID pandemic shutdown.
“We were genuinely welcomed into the community by residents and staff. Though the way we live our lives has changed for all of us because of the pandemic, Nick and I have embraced our desire to connect with other people through work at the Art Studio, Community Garden, Kendal Resale Shop and a variety of volunteer opportunities. We continue to find ways to connect with others during our walks, while getting our mail, while volunteering to support the areas of the community that need a helping hand. These activities help us to find our new normal while remaining socially connected.”
Kendal residents and staff know firsthand the challenges of moving to a new community and they made adjustments during COVID to keep its welcoming spirit in high gear.
Explained Mary: “Mentors helped new residents navigate the nuts and bolts of their new home, neighborhoods held Zoom or distanced in-person gatherings, they were interviewed on KOTV, residents individually reached out, and KORA’s Executive Committee held monthly Zooms with new residents and their mentors to answer questions, give suggestions, and have various committees talk about what they do.”
Other signs that Kendal is returning to normal is the full reopening of the Kendal Resale Shop. The shop reopened to the Kendal community last year and is now open to the public.
The shop is stocked with used furniture, clothes, household items and lots of treasures donated by Kendal residents, staff and others. Proceeds benefit the Residents Assistance Fund.
“The pandemic required more oversight in order to keep everyone safe, but volunteers jumped in to help support the shop and continue to oversee the new restrictions,” said Lillie, who is a volunteer.
“The Kendal Resale Shop has found a variety of ways to let residents, staff and the local community know what is available in the shop. We continue to receive tremendous response to the weekly ‘Fabulous Finds’ advertised on WKAO, advertisements sent out to residents and staff of furniture and items for sale, as well as internet sales on Facebook and eBay.”
Kendal’s Values Remain Intact
Mary, KORA president said that “despite the changes wrought by Covid, we continue to strive toward Kendal’s goals of maintaining a community in which each person is nurtured; a community committed to openness, respect, and care for each other; and a community where members respond to one another with sensitivity, good will, and patience, and where issues and problems can be resolved.”
Road Map to Residency
Moving to a new home is not an easy task. But it can mean an exciting new beginning.
In the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.
About Kendal at Oberlin: Kendal is a nonprofit life plan community serving older adults in northeast Ohio. Located about one mile from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and about a 40 minute drive from downtown Cleveland, Kendal offers a vibrant resident-led lifestyle with access to music, art and lifelong learning.