Carly Carver, Editor
The Ashland Beacon
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with Gov. Andy Beshear, urging families to be “Safe at Home” and mandating social distancing, non-essential businesses closing down, and schools closing through April 20, many families are having to find creative ways to connect with one another.
In an Ashland neighborhood, Midland Heights, families are connecting by placing plush bears in windows, or around their homes, so that families and children can go on “Bear Hunts” to see how many they can find in the neighborhood.
Belinda Hunt, a resident of Midland Heights for 22 years, said that her family happily participates in the bear hunt.
“My children are grown so it’s been fun getting the bears out and seeing all the kids walk by searching for them,” said Hunt. “I have a granddaughter that lives in Lexington and we facetimed and let her search for the bears. She enjoyed it.”
Hunt said that she’s enjoyed seeing children walk by with notepads searching for bears, keeping track of how many they can find.
“I have heard the kids voices when they find them and how excited they seem,” said Hunt. “Even the parents have been excited and brought them by multiple times. I’ve tried to add bears and changed them around multiple times.”
Harper Davis, 6, is one of the participants mentioned that carries around a notepad jotting down how many bears she can find.
Cathy Davis, her mother, and her family have been residents of Midland Heights for a little under a year.
“Our first night she found 33 bears,” said Davis. “She carried a notebook so she could keep track and insisted we take our Goldendoodle, Maggie, so she could help sniff them out. She has been excited each night to go back out and see if any of our neighbors have ‘been sneaky’ and added or moved their bears.”
Davis said that the project has been so important to her family in many ways.
“It’s allowed our family to enjoy our walks in a different way,” said Davis. “To take a moment to stop and really appreciate the beauty or uniqueness of each home, while looking for bears, is something we take for granted.”
Hunt said most importantly it’s been a way for the neighborhood to come together.
“I feel like social distancing has forced each of us to be creative in how we interact with one another,” said Davis. “This little project has allowed us all to feel a little more connected while working toward a common good. I also feel like it encourages everyone to continue to stay safe, because you can be a completely successful bear hunter from a distance.”
Jaime Correll Martinez, said that she hunts bears every evening with her 10-year-old and 13-year-old children after work.
“This has been such a good and healthy distraction,” said Martinez. “This has been important to teach them that good can come out of the bad and that we should always look for the heroes in tough times.”
“I feel it’s so important to come together as a neighborhood especially during this time,” said Hunt. “We’ve never endured something like this and offering a hand to someone or bringing a smile to someone’s face is important. Our lives are all so busy and this has forced us to sit back and take a moment to slow down. I hope we all learn from this and when life goes back to normal, we remember to stop and smell the roses.”
“I truly hope this feeling of one community continues well after COVID-19 is behind us,” said Davis.
Martinez said that the neighbors will also be coming together, within social-distancing guidelines, to have an egg hunt.