By Annamarie Fabbricatore
After interning for almost a year at the Bay Ridge Center, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to continue working with you all remotely and staying connected. Due to COVID-19, there have been many adjustments and major changes. Operating remotely was not something we had prepared for or ever imagined would take place. With that being said, we have been able to stay connected via phone calls, emails, and Zoom meetings, and for that, I am grateful.
To the members I have had the opportunity to check-in with each week, thank you for sharing your experiences with me. It has been a pleasure getting to know you, hearing how your week was going, and assisting you. I have enjoyed all of our conversations and hope that you have as well. Thank you for all your support and encouragement. I am grateful to have chosen the profession of social work at a time of unexpected challenge.
To my Italian class, thank you for showing up each Monday and Wednesday afternoon with a smile. Working with each of you has been nothing but delightful; your witty jokes always brought laughter to the room. Whether you were brushing up on your Italian language skills or learning it for the first time, I am so proud of you. Your progress did not go unnoticed and I hope I communicated that with you. In this short time together, I hope you have learned something from me. Above all, I hope what resonated with you is that it is never too late to learn something new as long as you are willing to learn and open to making mistakes. This was a learning experience for both you and me.
Before I end this letter, I want to share with you some comforting words by poet, Maggie Smith:
"Let the hard days be hard. You’re mourning life as you knew it—and the version of yourself who lived that life. Even as you grieve, try to remember: there is a beginning tucked inside every ending. The beginning of what? The only way to find out is to keep going. Keep moving.
Focus your energy on where you can do the most good right now. Even if you stay home, show up. Reach out to a friend or ten; stay connected or reconnect. Love is a verb, after all, so do it. Love your people—and that includes you, so take care of yourself. Keep moving.”
Please continue to stay safe and take care of yourselves. I wish you all the best and encourage you to continue engaging in activities that bring you joy. Go for walks, journal, meditate, call your loved ones, listen to music, read your favorite book, and try a recipe that you have always wanted to.
As they have been saying in Italian news reports, andrà tutto bene (everything will be alright).
Annamarie Fabbricatore is a Master of Social Work student at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. Bay Ridge Center is grateful for all her contributions to the center over the past year.
The photo is a screenshot from the final session of Annamarie's beginner Italian class on Zoom August 10. Annamarie is top center. The class started in-person and Bay Ridge Center and moved to Zoom after the March shut-down.