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Supportive online communities January 15, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Lifelong Learning, Online Tools.
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pep   In the days after the national crisis that was 9/11, teachers on my professional discussion lists rallied to offer support and provided invaluable resources for dealing with the news from New York and Washington. They offered their peers titles of helpful books and manuals for dealing with stress and grief geared to young children, and freely offered to find counselors or provide school supplies for students in New York whose schools were closed and whose classrooms were relocated.  When Katrina flooded New Orleans, the teachers in my online communities rallied their immeasurable forces of support again. My own daughter’s teachers spent a week in New Orleans over Christmas helping to rebuild a school. Such was the power of communities marshaled through the Internet. 

When our dog first began to show signs of hip problems, we took her to the veterinarian but we also scoured web sites and asked questions of dog loving communities who maintained help boards. As a result, we discovered that glucosamine and chondroitin might help our little terrier, a rescue pup we brought back from Japan fourteen years ago. The glucosamine indeed seemed to do the trick, for a while. Eventually we needed to seek the advice of other communities online who offered suggestions for caring for elderly dogs, suggested supplies for cleaning up after occasional bladder mishaps, and made suggestions for making her final days more comfortable.  Now with those days at their very end, we again sought the advice of those who have gone before us and offered suggestions for pet cemeteries, suggestions for memorials, and suggestions for keeping children involved and informed. Of course, all the suggestions in the world are only helpful hints. We still have to deal with the heavy lifting of the dealing with the grief of the end of the life of our beloved family member who has always been more than a pet. We are indebted to scores of people whose expertise and thoughtfulness remain mere key clicks away.

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