Highline College

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Corona community group offers a haven during quarantine

Remi Frederick Staff Reporter May 10

Like a lot of people, Jonnie Rutledge has been stuck at home during the Coronavirus quarantine.

Rutledge decided to do something about it and created the Corona Community Center, where people can interact through Facebook to share, combat loneliness and have fun.

The Corona Community Center has livestreams and daily prompts that cover a vast number of subjects such as workouts, art classes, song requests, and even someone taking the livestream viewers on his daily walk.

The Facebook group has developed a routine with people reading everyone a bedtime story.

Right now, they are reading through The Chronicles of Narnia, said Rutledge.

To date, the Corona Community Center has over 300 members and has been posting daily since March 30. Some topics include writing prompts such as “Write a tragic backstory for an inanimate object in your life” or a photo challenge to introduce the socks you are most proud of to the group.

“All of our instructors and Livestreamers are our friends. They are not professionals in any of the areas they are leading. We learn alongside and get to discover new things or just laugh at things together,” she said.

Rutledge started the Corona Community Center in a Facebook messenger chat with some friends at the beginning of the shelter-in-place order. She said that everyday, someone would give a video prompt and later declare someone else the winner of the day's prompt.

As time passed, it grew to become a fun and supportive group. Rutledge said she wondered how she could bring those experiences of having fun during this tough time to others.

“I started the Corona Community Center so people have a place to ‘gather’ that gives us a bit of joy and hope that might be missing from our regular online ‘hangouts’, a place where we can find community, have a laugh, but above all, get connected and combat isolation,” she said.

Once a week Rutledge hosts a Community Check-in where she said she gets to chat and see how everyone is doing. She said that everyone is honest about the fact that this is a difficult time, but everyone is sharing things that give them hope.

“Hope is so much stronger than fear,” Rutledge said. Though the members of the Corona Community Center are not where they might have anticipated, they are still trying to have hope and fun.

“The Corona Community Center is for people who value hope, connection, and want a break from reading the headlines,” she said.

You can join the Center at https://www.facebook.com/groups/335477837410247/?ref=share.

Rutledge said there is no fee or paperwork. All you have to do is hit the rectangular blue button to become a part of a group that can “get connected and combat isolation,” she said. “Together we win, nobody alone.”