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Leading Through Tough Times Part III

In this final installment of our series “Leading Through Tough Times: An Interview with City Year Philly’s Executive Director, Darryl Bundrige,” our Executive Director shares how he’s personally contended with COVID-19. Continue reading to learn Darryl’s approach to self-care and what he’s most inspired by even during such unprecedented times.  

How are you coping during COVID-19? 

Overall, I would say I’m pretty good. I feel fortunate to have my health and my family is doing well. I’m happy to be employed with an organization that has been doing as much as possible to be as people-centered as it can in its decision-making.  

I spend a lot of time on the computer in front of a screen now. That’s been an adjustment and has a different level of exhaustion to it.  

My biggest challenge time is the evenings. With social distancing, I’m unable to go out and do things with my friends like I used to, maybe for dinner, a movie, a show, or a sporting event. I miss not being able to do those things or to give someone a hug or a handshake. It’s amazing how much physical contact you take for granted until you’re not allowed to do it. I’ve spent more effort trying to reconnect with folks I haven’t talked to in a while, checking up on seniors, friends with health conditions, and family. I’m also doing a lot more cooking. 

Cooking? What’s been on the menu? 

I was very happy with my open-face quesadillas. I made a lasagna that probably could’ve used a little more cheese. I also tried to imitate the Ikea meatball stroganoff dish that they make. I order out occasionally to support local businesses, but I’ve definitely been doing more testing and pushing the envelope in my own kitchen. 

Any other self-care regimens? 

Just taking some downtime. Listening to music to relax. Watching something funny or entertaining on TV. Sometimes self-care has been simply not watching the news because it’s so overwhelming. 

You also took a day off for self-care. What role does that play in your leadership? 

We have a phrase about working at City Year: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You need to be in it for the long game. To do that, you need to take care of yourself so getting rest and saying “time out ” is important. We talk so often about people who are caregivers and people who have children, which is totally important, but those of us who are single and don’t have children need it as well. I do it for myself and to demonstrate for my staff. While my peers are doing a good job of modeling this as well, I would love to see more modeling above me. I hope that my superiors are taking time for their own well-being and the good of the organization. 

In these uncertain and unprecedented times, what are you most inspired by right now? 

When I do look at the news, I’m constantly reminded of the good in the world and the ability to pause and take a moment to do something positive or help someone else. I believe that’s how we get through things; remembering that our humanity is not based on what we look like or where we come from or the money we make, but our ability to reach out and give of ourselves.  

Those stories of doctors and nurses putting their lives on the line, folks stocking shelves in stores every day, all the people keeping our internet and technology services going to enable our ability to remain connected makes me so appreciative of people making the choice to keep going and to keep pushing. Also, during these times, you see the resilience of those who continue to get up each day, but one step in front of the other, and take care of their families. It’s nothing short of miraculous and inspiring.  

Missed Part I and Part II of this series? Visit the City Year Philly blog! 

To see our latest updates and response to COVID-19, visit our website. And if you’d like to support our work during this time, here are Four Easy Ways to Support City Year Philadelphia Today. 

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