It’s now clear that part of the positive aftermath of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic will be innovative products and services and community outreach created in direct response to the new normal of American culture. We will also see the emergence of young community heroes and sheroes leading the way. Still in their teenage years and finishing the school year online, the heroic efforts of a few of these budding volunteer superstars recently caught the eye of Classy Living Society (CLS). Here’s a little inspiration, as we take a closer look at their efforts to give back and keep everyone safe during this difficult time in our country’s history, proving that a heart to volunteer can make a huge community impact and give hope at any age.
Meet Mia, Age: 14
Owner and Operator, Mia’s Masks
Moreno Valley, California
Tell us about your volunteer efforts and what motivated you to start giving back to your community?
I like to help others the best I can, so I thought making masks would be a good way to help, seeing that everyone needs a mask now.
What steps did you take to get started?
I asked my mom for a sewing machine and I have never sewn in my life. I watched YouTube videos to learn how to use the machine. My mom just bought a few different kinds of fabric at first, and we told people we were giving them away to the senior citizens for free, but then everyone started asking for masks, so my mom and I thought, “Well, I guess I can give them away to everyone!” So my mom made a Facebook page and expanded our collection of mask fabrics to sports and kids shows and movies, and then that’s where we started taking more orders for people. Since then, we’ve just kept expanding our collection and taking in more orders.
Did you have any challenges to overcome before starting your volunteer effort?
We had a hard time finding and getting elastic, so that was probably the main thing my mom was trying to figure out how she’d get enough to make enough masks. She figured it out.
What advice would you give a teen who aspires to give back to their community?
I would definitely say have a good plan because my mom and I just jumped straight into this without really going through everything that could possibly happen (but honestly I didn’t think it would get this big in the first place). Also, pace yourself. Don’t overwork yourself; it’s important to take care of yourself because how could you work if you don’t take care of yourself?
What has been the most rewarding outcome of this experience?
The appreciation from people. That 9 inches of fabric from me can make people so happy. Knowing that although I don’t make a big difference in the world, I know I DO make a difference in our community. And mostly, I like the gifts people send me because I just really appreciate things with sentimental value, and people send me some really cool stuff like purses, flowers, and snacks too.
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Meet Grey Cohen, Age: 16
Nonprofit Founder and Director, The Meal Bridge
The Meal Bridge is a nonprofit platform in Atlanta with a mission to donate restaurant meals to overtaxed hospital workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Not only is this charitable effort brilliant in addressing the needs of restaurants seeking patronage, but it’s also been a sustaining force in keeping our Atlanta healthcare professionals well nourished during this busy season. What’s even more extraordinary is the fact that the brainchild of this community effort is a Druid Hills High School tenth grade lacrosse player! Click here to read more of Grey’s story.
Meet Shaivi Shah, Age: 15
Covid Sanitation Kits for the Homeless
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
To help the homeless community amid coronavirus in Los Angeles, fifteen-year-old Shaivi has organized the creation and distribution of sanitation kits to the homeless to help them protect themselves and others during this pandemic. Because she was informed that the most vulnerable among us are the homeless, she decided to put together kits that include hand soap, lotion and masks, using her time out of school to make a difference. She has solicited the help of classmates to assemble hundreds of kits and has raised nearly $20K via Gofundme. Click here to donate and learn more.
Meet Alycia Kamil, Age: 19
Pandemic Grocery Shopping for Low-Income
When other teenagers are out taking risks during the Covid-19 pandemic for their own social pleasure, Alycia and her activist cohorts are using donated funds to buy and deliver groceries for the elderly and low-income in her community, especially those infected by the virus. Drawing inspiration from other charitable groups and refusing to rely on anyone else to solve the problems in her community, Alycia and team have raised nearly $10K for groceries and an emergency fund for independent workers and those particularly hard hit by the outbreak. For more of her story, click here.
Meet Kenan Pala, Age: 15
San Diego, CA
Kenan is another young hero determined not to let Covid-19 slow his previous momentum in aiding the homeless community that first started when he was just 12 years old. When he noticed the difference in how people were coming to the aid of an injured baby seal on the beach one day but not the homeless man two feet away, he decided to get busy. Now, at 15, he has ramped his efforts even more as the result of the worldwide pandemic. With the help of other kids just like him, Kids4Community monthly distributes 200 hygiene kits and 500 bags of hope for the homeless, along with school supply drives and disaster relief support. Visit the website here.
Meet Milan Acosta, Age: 15
Operation Feed a Hero
New Rochelle, New York
This aspiring doctor not only has a special place in her heart for the massive number of victims in New York affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but also for front line responders. High school sophomore, Milan, has taken action to support these first responders during this critical time by delivering food to various NYC hospitals, emergency care facilities and essential workers. It is her hope that the funds raised will continue to support the restaurant industry, as well as needed support for medical professionals. Visit the Gofundme donation page by clicking here.