Celebrating Totality—A Once in a Lifetime Event

Group of people with eclipse glasses on looking at the sky.

Watching the eclipse.

On Monday, August 21, Columbia, Missouri experienced a total solar eclipse. The whole community was buzzing with excitement over this once-in-a-lifetime event. To celebrate this rare occurrence, the Supported Living staff organized an eclipse party for anyone who wanted to participate. Lunch was served and everyone was outfitted with a pair of eclipse glasses. For many, this was the first time they had experienced a solar eclipse.

Chad Mitchell, Direct Support Specialist, took this opportunity to create an educational experience for those who attended. “I enjoy science related events and I was able to put together a model and poster of the eclipse and the solar system so I could explain to the clients what exactly was happening in the sky.” Chad also handed out booklets to everyone with additional information. “My favorite part of the event was when the actual eclipse was reaching totality and I was able to assist Carol and Jimmy see through their glasses to view the eclipse. Carol had a really big smile on her face.”

Party-goers enjoyed hanging out and watching the progression of the eclipse and visiting with their friends, neighbors and staff. “It was cool! It was awesome!” says Laurie, one of the Supported Living participants who attended the party. “(Totality) was so short. I wish we could do it again next year! My favorite part was just before the eclipse when sun looked like a wedding band.” Laurie says she also really enjoyed getting to visit with friends old and new from the Supported Living program. “Everyone from my apartment building came. I loved visiting with friends I haven’t seen in a while.”

Direct Support Professional, Megan Elliott helped with organizing the party. “I think the Eclipse Party went very well. It was great to be able to get individuals from all five apartment buildings together for a once-in-a-lifetime event. Being able to see everyone together watching the eclipse and seeing their reactions was  absolutely amazing. It was such a magical moment that everyone will remember “

Mike said this was the first time he’s seen an eclipse before and he would definitely like to see it again. “It was something else! My favorite part was when it got dark like night time, and then it got light again. The next one will be in Arkansas. I have family down there. Maybe I’ll go down there to see it again. It was pretty neat.”

“We had a big turnout,” says Laura Eidson, Director of Supported Living. “It was wonderful to see both individuals and staff come together to celebrate and view the eclipse. It is unusual for our program to have an opportunity like this. I am glad we were able to support everyone in participating in such a rare event.”