Active Minds

One of the side effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been a disruption in people’s daily schedules. Such disruptions can reduce our productivity and even effect our mental health. 

Both staff and peers at Perry Wellness Center are experiencing huge changes to our schedules. Staff are either working from home, coming to work briefly when others aren’t there, or taking time away from work. Peers are moving from a very structured day to lots of time on their own. While all of us may enjoy some time away from the “daily grind,” that feeling can quickly turn to frustration, anxiety, or loneliness.

Recently, we found a very informative article that we thought might be helpful to many of our readers, whose work, school, and personal lives have changed drastically in the last few weeks. Maribeth Savoie and Kell Wilkinson, program managers with the organization Active Minds, recently published an article, “Tips to Stay Mentally Well While Working from Home.” The article provides 9 tips for temporary stay-at-home workers, students, and parents.

We encourage readers to check out the entire article, but a summary of the tips includes the following:


Create personal and work-related daily routines.

Choose a quiet, regular work space and keep it clean and organized.

Have regular, nutritious meals and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.

Plan ahead for supplies, schedule, etc.

Take “smart” breaks throughout the day.

Set boundaries for yourself to separate work and personal time.

Establish expectations with others.

Try to do things you would normally do at work or in school.

Give yourself patience and grace.


In difficult times, it’s important to remind ourselves that all of us struggle with mental health issues  -- anxiety, depression, etc., in unusual circumstances, even if we do not have a chronic mental illness. Learning new life skills can help reduce the pressure and improve our ability to cope with new challenges.

Active Minds is an advocacy and educational organization focused on the mental health of young people. Above photo and tips summary come from the Active Minds website.

Troy Boone at WorkWhile the world we know seems to be on hold, Stuart Perry continues to plan for a brighter future. Along with designated staff, he is attending to the maintenance and construction that is taking place for both the new classroom building and Rudy’s Happy Patch Market.

As for the latter, Stuart says, “We hope for another banner season for Rudy’s Happy Patch Market. We are trying to encourage others to do what is suggested for personal health. Still, we must get the market in readiness for the upcoming season.”

Troy Boone, an associate at Perry Wellness Center, is tackling several projects to maintain and improve the campus. As Jeff Williams continues to create new market displays, Troy follows his route, covering new and existing wood with a fresh coat of paint.

“We are all involved in preparing our campus to be ready for the new inventory and making the place shiny and welcoming,” says Troy with a smile.

In the photo above, Troy Boon applies a second coat of paint to a plant display pavilion on the grounds of Perry Wellness Center.

Construction workersWith business shutdowns and disruptions during the health crisis, Perry Wellness Center salutes the wonderful contractors who have continued to work on the new classroom building. It now has complete metal wall framing, awaiting completion of wiring and related electrical tasks.

Perry Wellness Center founder and CEO Stuart Perry says, “I think that it is vital for us to complete this new building and make a move to the new structure as soon as possible. Our contractors, despite the fear of the coronavirus, have not missed a day of work to complete the building. It is going to be a great, expansive addition to our operations. I appreciate all of the local contractors doing such a great job!”

As shown in the photo above, workers maintain proper distancing as they plan completion of the wall and wiring of the newest addition to the Perry Wellness Center campus.

Gourd BirdhousesDuring this “down” time at Perry Wellness Center, employee and artist Jeff Williams is keeping busy with many creative projects around the grounds of the center. Last week we told our readers about his creation of unique plant identification signs. We have learned that he has also been at work on gourd birdhouses.

The gourd or Cucurbitaceae family is a large one that includes squash and pumpkins. The two varieties used most for decorative purposes are Legenaria and Cucurbita plants.  The former is a hard-shell variety, which is a shade of green until it is dried or cured, at which point it ages to a tan or brown color. The latter is soft-skinned and grows in a variety of colors, including orange, yellow, green, white, and blue. Their shapes are unpredictable and bumpy.

These unusual plants can easily be turned into everything from storage containers to the popular birdhouses that are a fixture of rural Southern yards. We found an excellent link on how to dry a gourd that is going to be used for home or garden décor.  Once Jeff selects a dried gourd, he creates an opening for birds and sprays the gourd with a protective lacquer, before displaying it on a plant hanger.

“Gourd birdhouses are really a local, rural product,” Jeff notes. “People grow them for many uses. I have painted the gourds for storage use, and I have used larger gourds for birdhouses. Some early birds, like the marlins, fill these shapes for houses.”

Jeff’s current “crop” of birdhouses is displayed on hangers off the south parking lot ramp at Perry Wellness Center. Upon re-opening of Rudy’s Happy Patch Market, the gourds will be available for sale.

Center Follows County Guidelines re COVID-19

PWC Gates ClosedAs a curfew and business closure orders remain in effect in Sumter County due to the COVID-19 virus, Perry Wellness Center and Rudy’s Happy Patch Market will remain closed until further notice.

Perry Wellness Center founder and CEO Stuart Perry describes how the center is staying in contact with peers also sheltering at home: “Our peers are getting daily attention and meals from our kitchen and staff members. They are called by me and other as well.”

As for the market, Stuart notes, “This is a bad time of year for our market. I hope our usual customers will enjoy delayed planting and visit us when we can open.”

He also reminds supporters and customers to monitor any changes to the county decree and recommends following 98.7 radio for updates.

“We are joining others who are trying to prevent the spread of the virus and stop the spread soon,” Stuart concludes. Please join us in continued prayers for our community.



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