Publisher’s Message

Family, Friendship and Community — Is There An App For That?

As we approach the horizonal beginnings of a new Summer, most people are gearing up and looking forward to getting out, as Winter is now behind us. And we are looking forward to seeing you all, here in “Amish Country”. However, on more of a serious note, there may be some who may be feeling out of sorts, stuck, and finding it difficult to get into the stream of things. The world has been through a lot and is still going through a lot. With more people working from a home base and a lot of connective live interactions between people becoming less and less or being disconnected all together. We find more live social interactions being replaced with and by social media, streaming, and other online interactions. Essentially putting us apart more than together, thus creating a very lonely existence for some.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an expert or doctor and I don’t even play one on TV. I’m not giving anyone advice, just bringing a bit of light and awareness to a concern. I’ve recently been hearing some reports, here and there, that loneliness is becoming more prevalent and consequential within our communities across the nation. See the shared links below. I work and deal with people every day in my professional experiences, both adults as well as our community’s youth, within multiple communities I service. So, after over 40 years of business relationships and 20 years of being involved with youth mentoring & sports, I tend to notice these differences coming down the pike. Sometimes, it’s hard not to. But then sometimes, we miss those signs and red flags.

For myself, I’m naturally a bubbly, social, and outgoing personality. Always ready to say “Hi” give a smile, shake a hand, or strike up an impromptu conversation. It’s always been easy for me, because of what I do. And yes, just like now, there are those times I too get stuck for a bit behind a computer screen or locked in on multiple phones, as communication is what I do. Being in the Hospitality & Information Industry, I see it as our responsibility to get those people, when they come to the Amish Country, to hopefully become involved and be able to interact within our community, even if it’s for a little while, during their visit.

So, when you arrive in the Amish Country, unplug. Enjoy a tour or two. Take in a show or enjoy a park, a petting zoo, or an amusement park. Go with friends and family to the ballpark, restaurant, and experience the small businesses that dot the country side to enhance your shopping experience. But most of all, remember to ask the person near you ,as you make eye contact, “Are you Okay?! I see you, and you’re not alone”. 

America has a loneliness epidemic. Here are 6 steps to address it.

The Lifeline and 988

— Edward Blanchette