TRENDS Diary: Ryan Van Duzer & Lyn Schuman Simuns

TRENDS Diary, a project of the Community Foundation of Boulder County, is a place for Boulder County residents of all ages to share personal experiences that relate to a pressing community need. The focus, for now, is on our shared need to connect and solve problems, despite the increased isolation we’re all experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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    TRENDS Diary: Ryan Van Duzer & Lyn Schuman Simuns KGNU News

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Ryan Van Duzer And His Touring Bike

Dear Diary,

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ “ – Fred Rogers

That quote from Mr. Rogers was my inspiration. There’s so much negativity in the news right now. Even when it’s not negative, the statistics themselves are scary. I decided to highlight people in Boulder who are helping.

I put out a call on Facebook, got a list and rode my bike around Boulder to film these people in action. That’s what I do: I make videos. My YouTube channel is dedicated to outdoor adventure, but I wanted to share a story that can inspire other people. And I love highlighting anything that is Boulder.

The thing about the people in my video is that they’re all doing relatable stuff. Some of the people I found were just kids drawing things on the sidewalk to put a smile on people’s faces. They aren’t professional volunteers; they’re just people who woke up and said, “I want to do something.”

Anybody can do what these people are doing.

– Ryan Van Duzer, as told to Shay Castle

Lyn Schuman Simuns, After A Hike

Lyn Schuman Simuns used to have a very active life before the COVID-19 outbreak. Whether the Longmont resident was volunteering for Boulder County or for Intercambio teaching ESL classes, she was always on the go; but suddenly, in one week, everything stopped.

“I started to feel really isolated and was struggling myself to find the motivation to get out and be active, this situation is so unlike anything we’ve ever been through, so I started thinking, what can I do?” she said.

Simuns, a retired datacenter senior project manager, then created the virtual group “COVID-19 challenge: let’s walk off those 19 pounds that staying home are adding.” Participants have to accumulate individually the highest number of walking steps in a month to receive a monetary reward at the end.

“I thought, I am just going to put the challenge out there and see if we can help motivate and encourage each other in these uncertain times,” she said. “Sometimes, this is all you need, another person helping you get motivated.”

The challenge was open for everyone at the beginning and it was a coincidence that ultimately the group ended up being mainly Latinas who she met through her ESL classes at Intercambio, where she has been teaching for eight years. There are 12 wonderfully diverse Longmont women who are separately, yet together participating in the challenge.

“I’ve been so pleased to see that everybody needed this,” she said. “This is a way to feel that there are other people out there together with us even though we have to be separate.”

– Silvana Munro

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    TRENDS Diary: Ryan Van Duzer & Lyn Schuman Simuns KGNU News

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