I am a childcare worker with children in kindergarten to grade seven. During the school year, we provide before and after school care – a morning shift of two hours and an afternoon shift of four – with day-long programs running in the summer months. Our program provides group games, creative arts, time outdoors, and self-directed play for the children while emphasising three rules; my work is safe, my body is safe, and my feelings are safe.

When the pandemic hit, we made changes to when we work and whom we work with. Currently, our program is open 8-5, but we are only open to the children of other essential workers, and all staff were given the option to discontinue their work for the program until they felt safe to return, without the risk of losing their jobs. I decided to continue my work, because I wanted to feel like I was contributing to the crisis the world is currently facing. Due to the temporary loss of staff, I have shifts every day the program is open. I’m grateful to be able continue my work, especially since I live alone. The comradery between our staff full of college students has never been stronger.

We split the remaining children into two locations (we used to operate from three schools) with the staff and children never rotating locations to limit exposure. At my current location we have eight children, even though we are licensed for almost ten times as many.

We keep them in separate spaces or outside as much as possible. It’s hot enough to wear a t-shirt on the Canadian West Coast now, and it’s easier to keep the children spread out from one another outside. It’s difficult to explain to five-year-olds why they can’t stand too close to their friends while they’re trying to build a house for bugs, or that they can’t play dress-up anymore because the fabric is too hard to sanitize without on-site washing machines. One day, three of the children drew circles in the sand pit to ensure me they were going to social distance while they played together. Afterwards we had to split up the trio for lunch due to our small tables. 

Although there are far fewer children than ever before, the job has evolved to have much more responsibility. We must wash high touch surfaces with soap, water, and bleach multiple times throughout the day. After children touch toys, art supplies, books, and board games they must leave them in a bin to wait to be coated in a layer of diluted bleach. For a great deal of the day, one or more of us is ensuring the centre is clean enough to hopefully prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

We have been trying to educate the children; with a combination of online material from their teachers, workbooks their parents have purchased, and free online printouts. As a science major I have been conducting experiments with the kids – building volcanoes and making crystals – and providing them with facts about the ‘animal of the day.’ Once I brought in the planters I purchased for my apartment and taught them how to garden. While none of our staff are teachers, we are trying our best to make up for the childrens lost time in the classroom.

Image: Prexel

I’m aware that I should be fearful of my new work conditions. Instead, I feel a sense of security. During the most stressful days as a student; worrying about papers or a dispute I got into with my friends, I always had my job to brighten up my day. 

I went through a domestic airport to visit my family in late March, and as a result, had to self isolate for over two weeks. I live alone, and during my self-isolation, I counted down the days until I was able to see the kids again. Whether we’re spending ten minutes trying to learn how to use a coffee grinder, or playing a made up version of hide-and-seek with far too many rules, they never fail to bring a smile to my face.

 I’m thankful to feel like I’m combatting COVID-19 even though I play such a minuscule role. More than anything I’m grateful to see the kids keep their happiness during all of this uncertainty.

By Amy Boyle

Spring break is a time when students put a pause on academics and remind themselves to live. To college student Jennalynn Cisna, it meant a week-long trip touring Europe, but what she saw instead was a crisis beginning to unfold. 

“We left for Austria March 6… came back, and everything had gone to hell,” she explains. 

For her, there would be no return to normalcy after arriving home. Instead, two weeks of self-quarantine and a lack of closure, confronted with the reality of a crisis and no time for goodbyes, only preparation for the unexpected.

In Dec. 2019, the first case of coronavirus was identified in Wuhan, China. In the months that would follow: school closings, trip cancellations, social distancing and economic devastation at a global level. What began as a few sporadic cases in East Asia rapidly escalated into a pandemic sweeping nations across the world and costing the lives of over 100,000 people. And as death tolls increase, so too does its impact on the living as people struggle to make sense of the physical, emotional and economic damage it has wrought.

Until recently, “immunocompromised” was a term unfamiliar to most, it has now become a word people use to describe the likes of their grandparents, coworkers, friends, acquaintances, those more susceptible to contracting the virus. High school senior, Jenny Rodriguez is among those feeling particularly worried about this public health risk as someone with a compromising chronic condition. 

“I’ve been quite anxious…” she explains, “I have asthma and wouldn’t handle it well.”

But for Rodriguez, the challenges of this outbreak extend beyond threats to her health. They threaten hopes she holds for her future as well. Hers is an experience many students identify with–the challenges of completing schoolwork during an unprecedented online transition as well as grieving the absence of friends and missing hallmark high school experiences. The uncertainty of having a graduation ceremony has been especially difficult she goes on to reveal, as “the first in my immediate family to graduate, walking the stage is a big thing for me.”

For many, grief has become the new normal–losing loved ones, losing employment, even losing motivation to get up. “My room is a mess, and I feel the same way about my life right now” said Pike junior Malachi Morris. High school senior, Emma Wilson shares, “it’s hard for me to even get out of bed, I am dealing with loads of negative emotions…I often feel like there is nothing to look forward to”.

For others asked to describe their COVID experience: “Surreal. Upsetting. Frustrating. Disappointing. Stifling. Depressing. Worrying. Exhausting. Lonely. Reflective.” were a few among the varying responses offered. But, regardless of the generation, social class, politics or ethnicity, one common thread was undeniably evident–feelings of loss and pain, yet an equally powerful commitment to resilience. 

Exhausting is the word that captures how this experience has been for many medical workers, health professionals and others working endlessly to meet the needs of those around them. School social worker Tammy Coe is a chief example of an individual determined to help however she can, laboring tirelessly to ensure that the students and parents she serves have access to the resources they need during this stressful season. She is emblematic of how some have taken these circumstances and transformed them into opportunities of selflessness.

Being thrust into a global crisis has ushered in unprecedented loss and adjustment, feelings of powerlessness, stagnation and lack of motivation have become trademarks of the corona experience as people confront what this pandemic has meant for them. And acknowledging these circumstances and accepting the pain they inflict is essential.

“COVID 19 is REAL” Tammy Coe assures, “and we are all going through this at different levels… what I do know is that we will get through this.” And during this time when “people are experiencing a great deal of isolation and loneliness… listening is the most important skill anyone can have” Coe continues, “people just need someone to listen… being more mindful and encouraging of others” is how people can affect some positive change during this otherwise out-of-control season.

A season that has brought undeniable suffering, but also a spirit of resilience, revitalized hope, and the urgency to love one another earnestly. “This sudden and drastic shift has caused me to re-evaluate my life…a chance to start anew, to change my life for the better”, Jennalynn Cisna affirms. 

During my first year of university, I enrolled in a beginner Spanish course at the University of Saskatchewan. I had always wanted to learn Spanish, despite my inability to roll my R’s, but I had never had the time. Throughout the class, I developed my Spanish vocabulary and grammar skills, but as the course drew to a close, I realized that my newfound knowledge would likely be pushed to the side and forgotten. And that is exactly what happened. School, work, and my social life all took precedence over learning the language and eventually I lost the knowledge I had worked so hard to obtain.

However, my “lack of time” to pursue a new language slowly became an invalid excuse when social distancing kick-started in Saskatchewan in mid-March. I found myself looking for something to occupy my mind and my large amounts of free time. Classes were still operating online but I was no longer commuting to school, working my part-time job, volunteering, or hanging out with my friends, and as a result, I was bored. I remember scanning my bookshelf in my room looking for something to read when my eyes stopped on my old Spanish textbook from two years prior. It was at that moment that I decided the best way I could make use of my time during social distancing was to start learning Spanish again.

I wasn’t entirely sure how to begin learning Spanish, especially on my own, so I decided to begin with the only method I could think of: flashcards. I pulled out my stack of unused flashcards, set aside for the finals I no longer had to write, and began writing down basic phrases, colors, and animals. From there I began to test myself on these terms and slowly I would write out more flashcards to add to the pile. This method seemed to work at the beginning and my Spanish vocabulary was increasing. However, I still felt as if I needed to do more to keep myself engaged.

Language Learning Books”. Pixabay

I downloaded Duolingo, a language learning app, and began to incorporate that into my daily routine. I enjoyed listening to Spanish from the app, as well as the practice of speaking, reading, writing, and listening that it provided me. I definitely think Duolingo is a great place to start for beginners looking to build vocabulary and pronunciation skills. There are a lot of languages to choose from, and best of all, it’s free!

I continued using Duolingo and my flashcard method, and after a few weeks of practice, I decided the final thing that needed to be added to my Spanish routine was to actually practice having conversations in Spanish. That is when I decided to reach out to my friend that I met in Peru back in February. I asked if he would be willing to practice speaking Spanish with me and he agreed. We started speaking on the phone several times a week and my Spanish began improving quite quickly. Speaking can be one of the most difficult aspects of learning a language, so I was very fortunate to know someone who could practice speaking with me. Even though I only knew a bit of basic vocabulary, I was still able to use what I knew to practice and I developed more vocabulary and language comprehension skills as time went on. Learning a language can seem intimidating and challenging but it doesn’t have to be. Just start slow and try not to be too hard on yourself. Learning a language takes practice but it is really rewarding, and a great way to spend your time. So, if you’ve always wanted to learn a language, maybe now is the time to give it a try!

By Rebecca Goldfarb

Growing up, I felt so trapped socially. I went to school with the same 150 people since kindergarten and was always looked at as “quiet, shy, and boring” by high school classmates, no matter how much I tried to lose that image. Day after day, I felt like I was constantly living in a bubble. Being socially contained like this for 13 years urged my drive to get out of Orange, Ohio. While I was in high school, I went on two school trips to Europe. I made so many meaningful friendships on these trips with people from all over the place. These experiences were life changing and from those moments, I knew I wanted to study abroad for a whole semester in college, as the best experiences are the international ones. 

In college, I was finally able to shave my whole high school image off and create a new identity. Going to college in Boston certainly helped, and I was also able to build a solid foundation of so many different friend groups, that I left high school completely behind. I worked so hard for the past two and half years to become an extrovert, to build this social circle, and to finally live life and enjoy being young. 

Junior year was the year of the unexpected. Both semesters turned into something completely different than I thought it was going to be, especially my semester abroad. It has been a few weeks since getting sent back from the United Kingdom due to the coronavirus. Even now, it is still so complicated to process the idea of having been abroad during a pandemic; the time where no one is allowed to travel. Yet, I still did managed to travel all over Europe during the time COVID-19 was slowly emerging. 

I still was able to get a solid two months abroad while traveling all over Europe, even with this crisis on the rise. These were the few months I set aside to do significant traveling and a once-every-one hundred year pandemic just had to come about during the three months I had selected to embark on this adventure. That being said, there are both upsides and downsides for having been abroad during this pandemic, mostly downsides obviously, but let me explain the true overall impact coronavirus left on my study abroad experience. 

Being abroad during this crisis allowed me to understand the situation in multiple international perspectives, especially in the way various European businesses and governments were reacting to the crisis. Had I just been in the United States, I would have only stuck to the knowledge of what my home state and the state that I went to college in was doing. Being abroad during an international pandemic allowed me to really integrate myself in seeing how these countries dealt with an international crisis. Having been abroad in London, I now follow updates in the U.K. and all over Europe to see what they’re doing to handle all of this, even when I’m no longer there. I probably would not have done that otherwise. 

Overall, my knowledge and interest in international politics has increased immensely due to the fact that I was abroad during this pandemic. I got to be experiencing the action, and compare the way the citizens of both the United Kingdom and the United States took precautions. Even when my program got cancelled, I still had to embark on an international flight home. Traveling internationally itself during this pandemic allowed me to brave it out, which enhanced the intensity of my journey home, as I embraced myself for the six hour customs line at the United States border. 

I still had other international trips within Europe planned for the remainder of my abroad semester that I knew I couldn’t go on. The European airline companies canceled these booked flights due to COVID-19. This was not only a relief, as it guaranteed I could get my money back, but it also provided me more with an international perspective of this crisis. It is unbelievable that I traveled to Italy on the last possible weekend I could have done it, right before coronavirus exploded there. It all sucks right now, but years from now when we look back at this pandemic, I can talk about how I was studying abroad during this crisis, I took risks in international travel and got to be in multiple different countries and see their perspectives on the issue. I can share this cool and unique story to others about the pandemic that many people wonder about. If I had to find any benefit of being abroad during coronavirus, this is what I can pinpoint. 

I was in Italy from February 20-23, the last calm weekend in the country before the virus took over. 

Granted, I still got two months in England and got to travel to five other countries, for which I am extremely grateful. I still feel as though I got the full study abroad experience despite being sent home a month early. I am also grateful that I was able to get home in time before travel restrictions were made, that I could be home with my family during quarantine, and that they’re healthy. 

I’m so thankful for what I did get to do while I was abroad. I absolutely loved living in South Kensington. From seeing 7 shows on the West End to watching the BAFTAs red carpet across the street from where I have class, it already feels like I have been living here for months already. While traveling, I was able to meet so many new people from all over the world in the most unexpected circumstances. From being stuck in the Budapest airport for two extra days to a random person coming up to my friends and I at a pub, asking us to guess a riddle about expired yogurt, these random situations turned into the most memorable ones. I went from being scared of staying in a hostel, to absolutely loving it. I loved meeting people my age and learning about why they were travelling and where they were coming from. I’m so thankful that I was able to travel to these places and get these experiences before the CV situation got bad in Europe.

That being said, I hate the fact that I had to get sent home from abroad and that this crisis had to happen right now. I went from living my best life to living no life at all. I came about many frustrations during my quarantine because I looked back at how amazing these experiences were and I was craving more. I wanted more experiences like these in my upcoming trips. I wanted to travel to the other places I was supposed to go to, so I could meet more new people from all over the world and see more new places. The more I started thinking about what I could have done if there was no pandemic, the more I wanted the original full amount of abroad time I was anticipating. I think what bothers me the most is the feeling that the universe just wants me stuck and isolated in Ohio forever.

Being sent home and into social isolation, I feel as though I am back at square one. Back to feeling stuck and trapped like I was in high school. Except this time, if I try to get out and be social and live life and have fun, I risk getting myself and my family sick, which is the most messed up part about this whole situation. This isn’t just my early 20’s, this is OUR early 20’s. We’re supposed to be traveling, going out for drinks, going to concerts and clubs, and making crucial social connections and friends that are supposed to last a lifetime. We’re supposed to be getting critical, career defining internships. We’re being deprived of precious college moments, some of the best moments of our lives so far. We’re only in college for so long, so who knows when we will have the opportunity to have experiences like these again? 

Tea and Scones at Wimbledon Tennis Stadium 

Everyone in the world is being screwed over in some sort of way or from some type of experience, from unemployment to a high school prom. It sucks for everyone. However, the pandemic has shown us the various ways things can be made up for. Soon, we’ll be out of quarantine and we will be able to get back the experiences that coronavirus ripped away from us. I will get out of Ohio and I will get the chance to see the rest of the world. And that’s what’s getting me through, to know that I can get back and finish what I started. I now have a greater motivation to make this a reality. Who knows how motivated I would have been to go back to Europe immediately if I was able to get a full semester. The idea of my travels getting cancelled increases my itch to get back into the world as soon as possible (and also my hostel vouchers expire in a year, so I have to go back anyways). 

This pandemic has also taught me to take advantage of any opportunities that interest you while you can, because you never know when another obstacle will sneak up on you and stop you from being able to do something. Be grateful for every moment you get to experience. 

Soon enough, the world will be operational again. If we want to make this a reality, it is crucial that we continue to stay at home and do our part to get life back running, so we can go back to living our early 20’s sooner than we think. A couple months on pause won’t seem like a big deal in the long run.

By Carmiya Baskin

It’s springtime in Florence, Italy. Rays of sunlight peek out from behind the Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral, the Arno River sways peacefully in the light breeze, and the typically bustling Piazza Signoria is void of human activity. This year, the atmosphere is charged not with the serenity that comes before the inevitable flocking of summer crowds but with the anxiety about a highly contagious virus that is rapidly traversing borders.

In the safety of her apartment, Danielle Cohen, a UCSB alum who moved to Florence in January to begin her new job, reveals how her life has changed since the virus took hold. She has just finished recording an episode of “Quarantine in the Kitchen,” a series she invented in which she documents what she is cooking that day and posts it on her Instagram story to keep both herself and her followers entertained — and sane.

“I feel more safe in my apartment here than back home in the States,” Cohen says, gesturing to her surroundings that fill the screen on Zoom. As of three weeks ago, private hospitals in Italy have begun offering free medical care to people who have contracted COVID-19. Cohen notes that returning to California would pose a greater risk as, throughout the whole nation, testing kits and proper treatment are scarce and safety measures are not being enforced. 

While rules for quarantining have been announced in the U.S., there are no centralized regulations. As Cohen states, “it’s all happening state by state, city by city, beach by beach.” She feels that the U.S. should initiate a full lockdown immediately and learn from Italy’s initial mistakes; at first, people in Italy were not taking the quarantine seriously, much like many folks in the U.S. aren’t now.


Further, Cohen claims that social distancing does not work. “It’s frustrating to watch the U.S. follow in Italy’s footsteps because we didn’t know what was going on a few weeks ago. Now, America has a country to look to for guidance — which Italy didn’t have — and it’s not encouraging a countrywide shutdown.” Although she admits she is lonely in her apartment at times, she feels that staying inside and away from people is the best way to protect herself and those around her.

“Italy’s numbers are finally going down and it’s because we’ve been on lockdown for a month,” Cohen declares. According to the World Health Organization, coronavirus, aka COVID-19, is an infectious disease that causes respiratory illness with symptoms such as a cough and a fever. Coronavirus spreads mainly through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze or when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.

“Italian people care about their communities and appreciate the safety measures that are in place,” Cohen says. Venturing outside one’s home in Italy is strictly prohibited and accompanied by a hefty fine of €3,000 if one gets caught. When asked what tactics she uses to cope with mental health issues (as fresh air is no longer an option), she describes her daily routine which involves dancing along to online Zumba videos, piecing together puzzles featuring Italian art, and video chatting with friends and family from home.

She has two white boards on the fridge in which she writes her daily to-do list on one and her overall goals on another. She adds, “allowing yourself to have bad days is important. It’s asking too much of yourself to assume that everyday is going to be productive. The first week was really hard — I went from working a full-time job and having housemates to not having any of that.”

Despite the hardships, Cohen notes that there are positive aspects to this pandemic that is quickly making its way around the world. “We’re letting our world heal and we’re letting ourselves grow.” As everyone is staying inside, the air pollution has decreased, the amount of fish in the Venice canals has increased, and wildlife has begun to thrive again. While it’s unrealistic to remain in quarantine forever, Cohen reminds people that they must be more aware of their footprint. This is especially important as the Environmental Protection Agency has suspended the enforcement of environmental rules due to the coronavirus outbreak.

She encourages people to take this time to learn a new hobby, rekindle old skills, and connect with loved ones. She says, “I’ve never been alone or inside for this long in my life… it’s kind of freeing. Going home would’ve been the easy way out but this [situation] is a new challenge for me and I’m learning a lot about myself.”

Cohen sums it up by saying, “I hope the rest of the world starts listening so this quarantine can end soon.”

Citations

Cohen, Danielle. Personal interview. 2 April 2020.

Kraft, Ariana. “EPA Suspends Enforcement of Environmental Laws in Response to COVID-19.” WNCT, 30 Mar. 2020.

Parodi, Emilio. “Special Report: ‘All Is Well’. In Italy, Triage and Lies for Virus Patients.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 16 Mar. 2020.

“Here Are Italy’s New Quarantine Rules on Jogging, Walking and Taking Kids Outside.” Thelocal.it, 1 Apr. 2020.

“Q&A On Coronaviruses (COVID-19).” World Health Organization, World Health Organization.

By Mia Foster

     Teenagers are often characterized as apathetic and self-interested, and this generalization has been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. TikTok videos of teens licking toilets or making racist jokes about the virus took the internet by storm, as well as infuriating reports of irresponsible teens treating school closures as an opportunity to spend time with friends despite social distancing and stay-at-home orders. These events spark anger, as they should, but the overwhelming response to the selfish actions of a minority of teenagers overshadows the selfless dedication of many teens to be a part of the solution to the pandemic. 

  A prime example of selfless acts by teenage activists is Washington Youth for Masks, a fundraiser founded by four young women attending Issaquah High School. This nonprofit, grassroots initiative began in Issaquah, a suburb outside of Seattle that has been hit particularly hard by the virus. The founders, Angelina Chin, Claire Kang, Faith Lee, and Isha Rudramurthy, saw the initial impacts of COVID-19 through their extended family in China, Korea, and India and felt personally compelled to take immediate action. The mission of the initiative they created is to raise $25,000 to order 50,000 masks for 4 hospitals in Washington State, all while promoting youth advocacy and involvement in the fight against COVID-19. In a time of heightened anxiety and distrust, Washington Youth for Masks is an agent of unification for passionate teens as well as a reminder of the undying determination of the next generation to take action to make the changes they desire to see.

What is Washington Youth for Masks?

Washington Youth for Masks is a nonprofit started by and run by teens who are working diligently to provide masks for healthcare workers faced with an alarming shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). A MultiCare hospital nurse in Tacoma “said an ICU nurse will often go through 36 masks in a 12-hour shift and is now being asked to use a single one through the same span of time” (Crowe). Without the essential PPE to follow typical sanitation procedures, healthcare workers on the front lines are at a direct risk of contracting COVID-19. This creates both technical and ethical problems. If healthcare workers get sick, there would be no one to care for them or the other patients. Most importantly, healthcare providers are sacrificing their time and safety. The least we can do to thank them is provide them with protection. 

Masks being distributed

     On April 1st, Governor Inslee announced that “we rather urgently need to increase the stocks of personal protective equipment” (KING 5 Staff). This is the exact goal of Washington Youth for Masks. Donations are used to purchase FDA-approved masks through the Well Klein factory in China. As explained by the founders of WA Youth for masks, “international business export of masks is very difficult and unsteady, but China does allow shipping via FedEx or DHL in small packages to any US residential address for personal or small donation usage,” which is why independent organizations are necessary to procure PPE. Additionally, this initiative allows for the timely delivery of PPE, avoiding the often excruciating wait for a government response when there is no time to waste. The first shipment of 10,000 masks was sent out on April 1st, and will be delivered to Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center, EvergreenHealth Medical Center, and Swedish Hospital in Issaquah. This organization was founded on March 28th, 2020, and by midday April 1st, it raised around $8,600 and had over 170 members from across Washington, with no sign of it slowing down. 

Accountability

Donating any sum of money to a nonprofit means putting your trust in the good will and organization of its members. When I first found the GoFundMe for WA Youth for Masks, like all others interested in donating, I wanted to ensure that the money I gave would go to use. The founders, also known as board members, anticipated this desire for information and have included proof of FDA certification, receipts from orders, and pictures of the delivered masks on the GoFundMe, Facebook, Instagram, and website as a way for those who donate to ensure their money is put to use. The connection with factories in China was secured by Board Member Angelina Chin, who had connections with them previously through the Issaquah Highlands Chinese Heritage Club. After becoming a team member, I have become even more sure of the dedication and genuine intentions of the teens in the project. They are working around the clock to cover all bases, from the technicalities of ordering masks to the recruitment of new members to email updates to members with essential information. I received one of my first informational emails at 1:30 am, which is a small testament to the tireless board members who are putting all of their time and energy into this initiative. 

FDA Certification for MG Surgical Masks

Q&A With Founder/Board Member Angelina Chin

Mia: How was the concept for this initiative conceived? 

Angelina: Ever since school closed, I’ve been working alongside my mom and the Issaquah Highlands Chinese Heritage Club (which I have been part of since I was like 9 because my mom founded it) to secure and deliver masks from China. The club coordinated the donation of 1000 surgical masks, 1080 N95 masks, 50 coveralls & 200 goggles to Swedish Hospital’s Issaquah campus on March 19. The majority of this was coordinated by adults in the community, but it inspired me to get a group of young people together to show that the youth can make a difference too. I’ve also been privileged enough to sit around in my room binge-watching Netflix shows and scrolling through TikTok the entire day while our front line healthcare workers were struggling and were in desperate need of PPE. So instead of lounging around and doing nothing, I wanted to use my loads of free time to give back to those people in any way I could (very cheesy but true), and I knew many other people wanted to as well. 

Mia: What sets WA Youth for Masks apart from other nonprofits?

Angelina: While I’ve seen many nonprofit organizations and fundraisers raise money to supply masks, I’ve never seen a completely youth-led effort in Washington. With the power of social media among other things, it’s surprising to see the impact our generation can have if we all work together and commit to a cause. And so far it’s working! In just 4 days, we’ve expanded to over 140 representatives from all over Washington and we expect to see a lot more people joining the effort. Each member is sharing the campaign with their family and friends, making the number of donations grow day by day. 

Mia: Why is it necessary for individual citizens to fund and procure masks instead of relying on local and federal governments?

Angelina: Due to supply chain limitations and the global scale of the virus, Washington hospitals are currently experiencing extreme shortages and very slow processing times for equipment sourcing. Also, according to many news sources,  many hospital workers have gotten in trouble for speaking out about the shortage of PPE. It is up to public initiative now – our campaign can get masks to hospital workers faster than local and federal governments can.

Mia: And lastly, why is this project important to you?

Angelina: I’m extremely passionate about giving back to the community and have great respect and admiration for health professionals who are sacrificing their well-being to help others. With my extended family living in China, I have a deep understanding of the concerns and fears that our community is going through right now – and the frustration surrounding the lack of PPE for health care workers. I am fortunate enough to have connections with large medical supply manufacturing companies and instead of doing nothing about it, I want to use the resources I have to help with whatever is needed. We are all in this together (again cheesy but true).

Conclusion

Washington Youth for Masks is a one-of-a-kind initiative that is spreading awareness to other teens, uniting them under a common purpose, and empowering the next generation to take action in the face of uncertainty. It is a direct means of supplying hospitals with the masks it desperately needs. Most importantly, it is a community created by the commonality of those who care deeply about this situation and want to be able to do something about it.

Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved:

  1. Make a donation to this GoFundMe directly. $5=10 masks!
  1. Become a team member/representative! This is only open to youth, as this is a youth-run operation. Responsibilities include fundraising, recruiting 1 new team member, and applying your passion and creativity to forming your own type of fundraiser or marketing format as you see fit. To become a team member, fill out this form.
  2. Whether or not you are able to be a representative/team member, we would still love your help spreading the word. Share the project with family, friends, and colleagues. Each donation has a major impact!
  3. Utilize your talents to fundraise. Some team members have been making and selling friendship bracelets. My project was this article!
  4. Educate for a cause. We have partnered with TeamUnited, an organization that offers tutoring services. They have requested donations to Washington Youth for Masks in exchange for tutoring sessions. Offer your time as a tutor or utilize their services for tutoring to support Washington Youth for Masks while promoting educational continuity during school closures. Facebook and email address below!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/T.E.A.M.Uniteds/ 

Email: teamunitedihs@gmail.com 

GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/washington-youth-for-masks-covid19-support-fund 

Website: https://wayouthformasks.wixsite.com/website 

Facebook page

Instagram: @wayouthformasks