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The COVID-19 pandemic is one of those once-in-a-lifetime crisis events on which we look back to reflect on how we reacted and dealt with it at the time.

It has been a challenge to maintain our optimism. It has affected our mental health, our work, our schooling, our families and our friendships. Some have lost jobs or housing. Some have lost loved ones.

As we approach 2022, we see a light at the end of this tunnel with the increase in vaccination rates across the country. We are all eager to get back to spending time face to face with our family, our friends and, of course, to delivering the Courage to Care Upstander message to students and school communities all over Victoria.

We continue to promote vaccination in line with all sensible commentary and, given that teachers and staff at schools will now be required to be vaccinated, we will similarly insist that any of our volunteers involved in school programs are fully vaccinated.

On joining Courage to Care, each of us adopted as a key value the message “Be an Upstander”. To be an Upstander is to act: if you are able to be vaccinated, please speak to your GP and get it done.

Expert advice tells us that getting vaccinated will reduce the risk of passing on the virus to a person who might not survive it. That means that being vaccinated is the epitome of helping other people. That is us affirming our priority to be Upstanders. To safely participate in our program face to face, let’s all aim to be vaccinated before the year turns. Please inform the office once you are fully vaccinated so that we have this information available when rostering.

So, let’s do our review. When we look back, what did Courage to Care do? We followed the rules. We pivoted to create an online format for our programs. We remained physically distanced but socially connected. We supported each other and kept each other safe. We reached out and helped others. We were Upstanders.

Going forward, we will continue to do what’s best for the safety of our members and the students we want to inspire.

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