Writer: Camilla Petote
Editor: Dori Larbig
The COVID-19 outbreak has been everything but pleasant– with quarantine, long grocery lines, online-school, and the biggest worry of all: getting the virus itself. With every city, state, and country in different stages of quarantine, there have been many worries and other issues being created with social distancing and the virus, such as the stresses of online school, what this means for health workers, and how the elderly and people with health problems stay safe from the virus. In a time like this, it is very easy to feel helpless and stressed out, but that doesn’t mean you cannot make a difference in your community. Teenagers from all over the country have been creating organizations, campaigns, online fundraisers and so much more to help out their communities, and I had the chance to talk with a couple of these teens who have been helping their cities get through the virus in their own ways.
New York City houses almost half of the COVID-19 cases in the United States. This has caused many health workers to go back to work and risk being prone to the disease. Due to this, health workers aren’t able to go back and see their families until after they have self quarantined for two weeks without showing any symptoms. A friend of mine, NYC resident Emily Wheeler, is determined to do something about this. Emily has started the campaign “Come Home Healthcare Workers” in order to spread awareness of the issue and to get people to sign her petition in order to get 5-minute Coronavirus testing kits donated to healthcare workers so they can be able to safely see and spend time with their families. In order to do this, she has also sent letters to the two CEOs who own companies that make the COVID-19 immunity testing kits asking them to donate these testing kits to NYC health workers. The idea came to her when her mother’s boyfriend had to go back to work to treat patients infected by the virus. This means that he cannot go back home for weeks due to him having to self-isolate. This also meant that he had to tell his 8-year-old daughter that he may be missing her upcoming birthday or will have to stay 6 feet apart from her the entire time. Through her campaign, Emily is spreading awareness of the subject by getting other friends and family of healthcare workers to share their stories as well and include #ComehomeHCW. You can sign her petition which is linked in the bio of her campaign’s Instagram: @comehomehcw. Her goal is to get to 5,000 signatures.
Emily Wheeler hasn’t been the only one helping their community through the COVID outbreak. San Marcos Junior, Daniel Goldberg, started the organization, “Zoomers to Boomers,” with a group of his friends. Zoomers to Boomers started when Daniel and a group of his friends started delivering groceries to the elderly and people who have health problems. However, with growing demand and more volunteers wanting to get involved, the organization quickly expanded and spread nationwide with mentions in Forbes, Noozhawk, Santa Barbara Newspress, and more.
“Our goal is to help the elderly and immunocompromised,” says junior and VP of Volunteer Services, Lily Bienstock. “And we’ve helped over 1000 people and have over 100 nationwide volunteers!”
A couple hours south of Santa Barbara, many organizations and campaigns have been created in Los Angeles as well. There have been various campaigns started by teens in order to collect masks, as well as teens sewing and donating masks. There is even a club at one school in Los Angeles that is called “B Well” and has taken an online platform by emailing students tips on how to help yourself and be safe during the outbreak. One LA-based teen organization, “Bored of Boredom,” has been providing educational opportunities and help for other students. They offer a variety of classes for those who have more minimal online learning opportunities. Classes include everything from learning how to code Python, singing, an introduction to the American Government, genetic engineering, and many more, all lasting anywhere from half an hour to an hour. They also provide one-on-one tutoring services for students who are stressed or struggling in any of their classes.
No matter where you are or what your situation is, these teens have proven that anyone can be making a positive difference in their community. The Coronavirus outbreak may be stressful, but there are always ways to make your situation and others’ situations better.