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Social Distancing at 85mm: Leigh Anne, Lake Como 

click to enlarge Leigh Anne, Lake Como - PHOTO BY MATT KELLER LEHMAN
  • Photo by Matt Keller Lehman
  • Leigh Anne, Lake Como

What are you doing to stay productive around the house throughout the day to stay positive during these times?
I spend most of my time playing with and teaching my 2- and 4-year old children. It’s hard not to be positive with their energetic nature and sunny dispositions! However, I do have a lot of anxiety about the current pandemic, and I’ve found that the best way to combat my anxiety is to help others however I can. Mainly, in my down time, I am making masks for our healthcare workers and for community members as part of the #MillionMaskChallenge, spearheaded locally by Andrea Ruiz-Hayes. This initiative started around the country as a grassroots sewing movement and has expanded to include crafters of all types. Notably, some of the members of this group in Gainesville, in conjunction with the University of Florida, developed a prototype for medical-grade masks using a material called Halyard 600. Orlando Health has now called upon our local chapter for 43,000 masks to be produced for their healthcare workers. Materials are pre-cut and provided in packs of 25 with complete instructions on how to sew the masks. So, for anyone reading this, if you have a sewing machine and want to help, feel free to contact me or reach out to us through Facebook! In addition to easing my anxiety and directly helping people, sewing the masks has also brought me closer to several community members who are key coordinators and producers in the #MillionMaskChallenge (namely Lisa Morgan, Jennifer Sutphin and Vanessa Loomie) and to my daughter, who has learned to sew just so she can be a community helper too!

Top things you miss about Orlando and can’t wait to experience again when this is over?
We miss the Orlando Science Center, the Orlando Library, Delaney Park and Lake Como Park! The kids and I go routinely to the programs at the downtown library and the Science Center. Also, we visit almost daily either Delaney Park or Lake Como Park. We cannot wait for these amazing venues to be open again!

Do you have any stories you’ve heard about locals using their creativity to provide support and positivity to the neighbors in their community?
It really is amazing to see how everyone in the community is coming together to care for one another and provide positive support. For example, our neighbor, Bethany Merrill, a teacher at Audubon Elementary, had the idea to create the red and green signal system for our street. Another neighbor, Leah Unell, an artist and art teacher, created an interactive art project called the Great Gnome Project for the neighborhood (and this is her second interactive art project in the last month!). Tina Cintron and Tairi Danger Perez, residents of our Lake Como neighborhood, have been coordinating activities such as Bear Hunt, Sidewalk Chalk Art Walk and Easter Egg Hunts for kids of all ages to participate in as they walk through the neighborhood. There is always something new to look forward to every day, and we are having a great time participating!

Any streaming TV recommendations?
We recently discovered The Stinky and Dirty Show on Amazon Prime. For anyone with kids who love trucks and all things that go, this is a creative show which I cannot recommend enough! Stinky is a garbage truck and together with his best friend Dirty, the backhoe excavator, solves all sorts of problems with their friends (such as Brave the Firetruck). This show is based off of the book series by Kate and Jim McMullan.

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