With two young kids at home doing distance learning, and working remotely as a Territory Manager for New York City Critical Care Supplies for NYC Hospital Intensive Care Units, Jan Cornell saw sadness and depression all around her.
“Many times during the pandemic I would be watching the news and my account would be on TV and I would be on the phone with them,” she said. “It was all very surreal and at times very sad. Everyone was sad, especially at the beginning of the pandemic.”
It’s why she knew there was a need to do something in order to bring joy to people.
“I had to find an outlet from all the sadness for myself and my family,” she said.
Since September she’s done just that after opening a “Card My Yard” franchise in her East Greenwich community. Since launching she’s been spreading joy and she has hardly been able to keep up with everyone who wants joy in the form of the signs.
Cornell who grew up in Texas had known about ‘Card My Yard’ for many years because her childhood friend owns a franchise. She explained that she always admired the signs and decided to reach out to her to see if she thought it was something worth doing in Rhode Island. She called it a “very wise decision,” to open the business saying that it’s been happy all around.
“As a cheerful person the pandemic affected me deeply. Working the front lines (just remotely) was depressing,” Cornell said. “I needed a way to cheer not only myself up, but also the community. I purchased the Card My Yard Greenwich Franchise as a result.”
Cornell explained that the way it works is people anywhere are able to order signs for their loved ones or people they appreciate in Rhode Island and the surrounding area.
From there the “Joymakers” create the custom signs for the special occasion. She explained that they are all put up at night giving the recipients an added level of “surprise” when they see them.
Some of the different life events that they have done signs for include weddings, healthcare workers, birthdays, cancer parades, and nursing home patients, just to name a few. Cornell explained that during the pandemic it’s extremely difficult to celebrate life events. With that said she pointed out that they still continue to happen and deserve to be celebrated even if it’s in a different way.
“Folks are still having these life events everyday even with the pandemic,” said Cornell while holding back tears. “People still need to know that they have people that love them and care.”
She explained that one of the benefits of the business is that loved ones can still help celebrate even while out of state–something that in many cases would be impossible due to the pandemic.
She told the story of a mother who contacted them from Florida whose daughter was getting married in Newport. Another example is at nursing homes where family members have signs made for patients to see outside when they wake up in the morning. No matter what the occasion, she said they are helping people find joy.
“We touch people’s lives and hearts everyday,” she said.
For Cornell it’s more about just making signs. It’s about hearing and learning about the story behind it.
“Every other sign I will get emotional about it because behind every single sign is a special story,” Cornell said. “I can almost cry talking about it.”
Cornell said that she hopes that others will follow suit and help to spread joy to people whether big or small.
“If everybody could chip in to bring joy to the world that would be great,” said Cornell. “There are many ways to do that to bring joy to the world.”
While she admits that she didn’t expect for it to be as popular as it has become, she plans on continuing it even after the pandemic is over.
To learn more about ‘Card My Yard’ visit www.cardmyyard.com.