Everyone is excited to begin getting back to a pre-pandemic “normalcy” after a long, arduous year of quarantine. When Ignite Evanston reopened its doors to participants just a few weeks ago in mid-May, there were smiles all around. The staff was excited to welcome old friends and new ones to the program, and participants were excited to return, despite a few restrictions still in place.
JJ’s List sat down with both the staff and participants to ask about their feelings on returning to in-person programming. Read more below:
What are you most excited about returning to Ignite?
Nazim: “I am excited to meet new people.”
Jimmy: “I am new to Ignite. I like it here. I am looking forward to going out and taking the train downtown.”
Pam: “Taking walks for exercise and being with friends and learning Japanese on my phone during breaks.”
Maria: “Hanging out with friends.”
Henry: “It’s good to see old friends.”
Katy: “I like being around my friends face-to-face.”
John: “Seeing my friends and getting out of the house.”
Amanda: “Having everyone back here in person.”
Tina: “Seeing and interacting with people in person.”
Martina: “Seeing people face-to-face and communicating with them and seeing their expressions.”
What did you miss the most?
Nazim: “Outings in the community and riding trains.”
Jimmy: “I missed playing sports with my friends.”
Brian: “Using the computer.”
Pam: “Being around people; cooking and eating with the group.”
John: “Going on outings.”
Maria: “Learning new things and watching the news.”
Henry: “My friends.”
Amanda: “Going on outings, especially to coffee shops, because there are always good conversations there.”
Tina: “Art is a very physical experience, so I missed seeing how people handle art materials in person.”
Martina: “I missed being able to provide the services that we are now able to do again. For example, being able to lead a film-making or a team-building class. Now we can be more hands-on.”
How are things different?
Pam: “A lot is different: only one person is allowed in the kitchen at a time and the bathroom has to be cleaned each time someone uses it.”
Maria: “We have to wear masks”
Katy: “I am new to Ignite. The group is small, which I like.”
Amanda: “Because of Covid restrictions, we have to separate the Ignite participants into two groups, so not everyone is together on the same days.”
Tina: “The dynamic is different because of the group configurations.”
Martina: “Just the social distancing.”