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Front Step Project: Jenna & Devon

Updated: Sep 25

Welcome to another Columbia Heights Front Step Project brought to you by MarKei Photo & Video. I began this initiative to facilitate connecting the humans in my city, to celebrate our diversity, and share our challenges during this pandemic and beyond. If you’re enjoying this series, please share. To support my work, like & follow MarKei (on FB, IG, Twitter, &/or YouTube). To be notified of new posts, subscribe at markeiphoto.com. We are still offering socially distant photography in MN, so feel free to reach out!


Say hi to Jenna, Devon, and Sophia!

Jenna grew up in rural Minnesota (St. Francis) and always wanted to live in a city. Luckily, she met Devon! Jenna and Devon bought their house in Columbia Heights just two months ago. Before that, Jenna had been living in CoHi on and off during the last 2 years since Devon had been living here.


Jenna has worked for a little over a year at Unity Hospital as a mental health associate, which is like the equivalent of a nursing assistant but in the mental health field. She graduated with her B.A. in Psychology two years ago at the U of M. She admits there are a lot of "bad" days at the job, but overall it's really good. Most of her patients sleep overnight so she's been able to do homework for her master's program in Accounting. Presently she's working through her pre-reqs.


Jenna and Devon also have a newborn! Sophia breathed her first breath on earth this May! During delivery, it had to be just Jenna and Devon. No visitors. They admit it's been difficult to not be able to leave the house during the pandemic. They feel a need to be even more cautious as they keep in mind the pandemic plus the susceptibilities of a newborn. Usually when a young family buys a new house and has a newborn, they're receive many visitors. However, that can't be the case for this family in 2020.


Jenna spent 2 months of her pregnancy during the pandemic lockdown. She, fortunately, was very prepared ahead of time and had all the items she needed. She shared that while she was on maternity leave, she was very lonely, stuck in the house with the baby, plus the restrictions of the pandemic. They're looking forward to the end of this period.

Devon works from home in the jewelry business. He has been working from home since March but previously had been commuting to Burnsville for the call center job. Minimizing the time he spends driving plus working from home has allowed him to be able to help out with the baby more during the day. He really enjoys working from home and it's been incredibly helpful for their family. They're both really grateful that they still have their jobs. They admit it was certainly an adjustment to initially have so much time together. Now Jenna gets a break when she goes to work, but Devon doesn't really have that opportunity.


Jenna shares that working at the hospital during a pandemic has been different. She worked a little in March during the days and evenings. First they switched to masks and then shields. With all that stuff on their face working in mental health, it’s hard to be personable with the patient. Some patients suffer from paranoia and the masks, etc., can especially impact their perception and mental state. The hospital discontinued visitors on Jenna's floor which was hard for a lot of patients.

Little Sophia is doing really great. She's very healthy and her parents are grateful for that. Though they have to try and avoid taking her out places.


Jenna's family still lives fairly close by. Her sister comes around often since she loves the city, too! Jenna hasn't done any virtual calls since she's been doing social distanced visits with her family. She hasn't really hung out with any of her friends. Albeit, she admits, a new baby is inherently already a big transition that can cause a shift in friendship dynamics anyways. Stack that on top of a pandemic, your social circle can get pretty small.


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#FRONTSTEPPROJECT: If YOU want to be featured, message me! It is free for Columbia Heights residents. Donations to SACA Food Shelf & Thrift Store are encouraged. Tell your neighbor who may not be on social media.

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¡Se habla español!

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