Chalk messages inspire hope


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Children draw inspirational images during sadness of virus outbreak.

Jill Blue

Even if it wasn’t immediately noticeable in parts of Viera and Suntree, everyone has had their lives dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak worldwide. 

That can be seen in the cases of Denise and Larry Mathis of Viera.

Larry Mathis, who also was off work this week due to the outbreak, was slated to have surgery but it was canceled because it was considered not essential. Beyond that, the couple was slated to go on a cruise.  

“We haven't been going out, because we're following the guidelines that the president asked everybody to do. We've been staying home except for going to the grocery store," said Denise Mathis, who noted they’ve “gone maybe once or twice a week to Publix or Walmart if we needed something."

John Maita of Viera had to postpone a cruise that was scheduled for the near future. 

"I just got finished trimming bushes outside and I've been reading stuff that's been going on the internet. That's about it. Watch a little TV, fish a little bit, wash the car," Maita said. “The only time I've gone out is when I went to the grocery store days ago and picked up some stuff that I needed."

Despite the difficult circumstances, some, including those with children in the area are making the best of a tough situation.

Chance Cedik, 9,  and 7-year-old Scarlett Cedik drew inspirational messages in chalk on the sidewalk of their home in the Auburn Lakes subdivision on March 21. The drawings included messages asking people to stay healthy and wash their hands along with imagery that included a rainbow and the sun.

“The kids came up with some really good ideas just to spread happiness right now because we know a lot of people are worried,” said Courtney Cedik, Chance and Scarlett’s mother, who said they were inspired after seeing others discussing the idea on the online networking site NextDoor.

“We thought it would make people … less scared of the coronavirus,” added Scarlett Cedik.

Elsewhere in the subdivision, the Otermat family was trying to keep things loose as Nicole and Derek, along with their two children, 8-year-old Carson and 3-year-old Norah, enjoyed part of a beautiful early spring Saturday afternoon outside, with Carson blowing large bubbles. 

“We’ve been able to keep the same routine pretty much with our kids, so as soon as they closed the schools down, we decided to, instead of going on Spring Break vacation, to keep our normal-like lifestyle, Otermat said. “So, we try to eat dinner at the same time and everything like that, but mostly we try to play a lot.”