Follow South Jersey Gives Thanks

By: Follow South Jersey Staff

SOUTH JERSEY — Happy Thanksgiving, South Jersey!

2020 has been a challenging year for nearly everyone. But despite some of the challenges we’ve fac, there is still a lot to be thankful for this year. We’re very thankful for our readers across the region, and our staff decided to share what else we’re thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Alysa Rubin, Public Health Intern

This year, I am thankful for my health, happiness, and for the support of my family and friends. Despite these unprecedented times, I have been fortunate to encounter a variety of opportunities, and I am very fortunate to be in such a position. I continue to pray for the health and safety of Americans all around as these difficult times continue.  

Dean Johnson, Editor/Reporter

Recently, I received an unexpected gift. It was one of those Edible Arrangements with pineapple, grapes, bananas, and apples. There was no special occasion, no birthdays, or anniversaries being celebrated in my house. The card simply said, “Hoping your family is well.”

That unexpected gift made me think how unsolicited graces, those affirmations out of nowhere, those fortuitous messages of care for one another, those actions of others that help remind us that, no matter our differences in beliefs, remind me how we can all be there to serve one another.   

“You only have a few items, please go ahead of me;” “Let me get that door for you;” “I’m going to the store, do you need anything;” “The car ahead of you paid for your order;” “I have two, you are welcomed to one;” “I’d be happy to watch your children while you go shopping;” and the list goes on.  

This year, I am thankful to know that the great majority of people would not hesitate to go out of their way for their neighbor, whoever that may be.

Isaiah Showell, Multimedia Reporter/What’s Good Host

I’m thankful for a lot of things, but at the top of my list has to be the opportunity to bring some type of joy coupled with information to South Jersey through my platform with What’s Good! I’m thankful for my professional and personal relationships I’m a part of — shout out to my mother and father and siblings!

I’m thankful for the people who intentionally try to make a difference in South Jersey, specifically to CASA, Family Strengthening Network, and First Star Academy for their commitment to getting the job done! And lastly, I’m thankful for all the good things coming out of South Jersey!

Rachel Suga, Bridgeton City Intern

While 2020 has been a tough year for all, I am thankful for the health and safety of my loved ones as I was able to continue my education despite the pandemic. I am grateful for all opportunities that I have been given this year and have not taken a single day for granted. I hope that in the year coming forward, we can all celebrate the holidays together. I am sending wishes of health, happiness, and prosperity into the homes of our readers this Thanksgiving.

Ryan Schumacher, Content Manager/What’s Good Video Editor

I am thankful for friends, family, and medical workers. Not only for the work of handling the care of people during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also those experts in their fields having to follow tighter regulations and continuing to take care of those that need heart, organ, or brain surgery in this time. 

Savannah Scarborough, News Reporting Intern

This year, especially during the holiday season, I am incredibly thankful for good health, individually and within my family during these trying times. Additionally, I feel blessed to have such a supportive and loving family that encourages me every step of my journey through life. Also, I am able to continue my education and lead a somewhat normal life in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made me realize how fortunate I am.

I am extremely hopeful for the months and years to come, and I pray for those less fortunate, that they stay safe throughout the holidays, and their days become brighter.

Michael Mandarino, Managing Editor

For me, there are lots of tangible things to be thankful for — including video games for keeping me occupied when I’m bored, the good health of my family, friends, and myself, the college degree I earned in the spring, and the platform I have to help keep community members throughout South Jersey informed through this very news website. However, I want to express my gratitude for something that you can’t see, touch, or feel.

As backward as this may sound, I’m thankful for all of the bad things that have happened to me over the past nine months. Obviously, I didn’t choose or want to finish college on a computer or get dumped via FaceTime, and I’m certainly not grateful for the face value, in-the-moment part of those events. However, the adversity of this strange, unusual time has taught me so much about myself, and I’m so thankful for the chance to embrace the process of growing through tough times.

I’ve learned how to deal with adversity and, crucially, how to truly evaluate myself and make constructive, long-lasting changes in my life. Instead of feeling bitter or vindictive towards my ex beyond the initial shock of our break-up, for example, I spent a lot of time considering my role in the relationship and what I could’ve done better. In the past, I would be hard on myself just for the sake of being hard on myself, but nothing constructive would come out of it. Being realistic, but not unnecessarily harsh (for lack of a better term) really helps me battle through and, when the time comes, move on from adversity.

Also, I’m thankful for Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries of Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. This book provides excellent perspective on how important it is to be invested in what you say and do, and I can’t recommend it enough.


Follow South Jersey provides local journalism which highlights our diverse communities; fosters transparency through robust, localized, and vital reporting that holds leaders and institutions accountable; addresses critical information needs; supports people in navigating civic life; and equips people with the information necessary to partake in effective community engagement. If there is a story or event you think we should cover, please send your tips to news@followsouthjersey.com with “NEWS” in the subject line.