by Cori Hilsgen
St. Joseph resident Amber Weise and her three children Dominic, 16, Amara, 13, and Morgan, 9, recently decorated a trail near their home on Iris Lane NE to try to spread some cheer during the Covid-19 school/business closures.
Wiese, a social worker, and single parent, said when Gov. Tim Walz issued the executive order for school closures, she needed to work remotely from home to care for her children.
“I am blessed to have the opportunity to be at home although it has created a different type of stress, as I typically commute for work,” she said.
With some extra time, Wiese found an idea on Facebook called “A World of Hearts” a movement that started in Bismarck, North Dakota. The idea behind the movement is to create a collage made with hearts or cut-out hearts and hang them in your window to promote love and well-being.
People from many places are sharing their pictures and creativity on Facebook with a hashtag #aworldofhearts.
Wiese decided she wanted to do this with her children but also wanted to incorporate a positive and unique St. Joseph-oriented message. She thought of Jacob Wetterling and the “11 traits.”
The 11 traits which Jacob Wetterling valued and the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center has encouraged people to try to live by include the following: Be fair, Be honest, Be thankful, Be joyful, Be generous, Be understanding, Be positive, Be a good sport, Be a good friend, Be gentle with others and Be kind.
Wiese and her family decided to make heart signs and write Jacob Wetterling’s 11 traits on them and set them up near the sidewalk that goes by the wetlands in their neighborhood.
Since they live on a section in their neighborhood that has a sidewalk, they have a lot of foot traffic with people walking their dogs, jogging and riding bikes with their children past their house.
“Jacob Wetterling’s 11 traits (are) the perfect way to promote love and well-being through the innovative (group) A World of Hearts, while also encouraging amazing traits to adopt for ourselves during this unique time,” Wiese said. “Jacob’s Hope lives and so should ours.”
She said people are currently facing many stresses including the cost of groceries, lack of childcare, balancing distance learning and working from home, living in close quarters and limiting social interactions with others.
During this time, Wiese has thought about school-age children and their overall well-being. By putting the heart messages by the trail, she hopes to practice and encourage self-care. When people pass the heart signs, she hopes the messages will create joy for those that pass by the hearts.
As Wiese practices self-care, she has been checking with her family and friends, to see if they have also been practicing self-care.
“I myself have had to take extra measures for self-care these past couple of weeks,” Wiese said. “My self-care comes out through my love for my profession. As a social worker, I love people and my community. I love to raise awareness. My self-care includes making sure others do not feel alone and to create unity.”
She said for anyone who is a caregiver to a child and may or may not be experiencing overwhelming circumstances, they can visit the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center website at https://www.zeroabuseproject.org/victim-assistance/jwrc/. Another resource for children and their mental health during this time is childmindinstitute.com.