2020 04 COVID-19 Virtual Response Team
By Lily Viggiano, Project Coordinator
COVID-19 shut the world down in March 2020. I got the news while hosting in-person youth meetings for the Milton Action Team. People were nervous and hoarding resources, news report outlets flashing fearful headlines, and general unrest grew globally.
Naturally, I wondered what the Halton Youth Initiative would do. How could we support our youth? How could we continue on as a community in a virtual setting?
The idea for the COVID-19 Virtual Response Team met two outcomes: create a safe space for youth to come together online and met our project goals by sharing these tasks with the community. I’d like to thank my friend and educator from WRDSB, Ty Karl, for supporting the six-week team as our meeting facilitator.
The team started on March 30, 2020. Each week, we used a pillar of the Developmental Relationships to have meaningful talks with the volunteers - and 3-5 tasks were assigned in google classroom to align with the weekly discussion. There was a recurring theme of doing tasks to support our personal community, local community and online community. Completing tasks earned points, and the top points earners at the end of the six sessions won prizes!
Personal community - In 100 words,
send a blurb on how you are staying
occupied during the COVID-19 isolation.
Personal community - Take a picture
or video of something that is meaningful/
striking in your home/neighbourhood.
Provide an explanation as to why it is
Local community - Leave a positive note/
chalk on the sidewalk/message for someone
in your house/neighbourhood to see.
Submit an explanation about what you did.
Online community - Submit a positive
piece of digital content or happy meme
that can be shared on our IG stories/posts.
Write up a caption.
Week Two - Expressing Care
Task 1 - Send a caring message
Task 2 - How can you begin to or enhance how you express care
to people on our team (youth and adults)?
Task 3 - How has an adult Expressed Care for you?
Task 4 - Write thank you note/thank you card for a nurse
Task 5 - Find a link to a local "good news" story
Week Three - Challenge Growth
Task 1 - Set personal goals
Task 2 - List 3 things you can do to help others
Task 3 - What are 2 questions or concerns that you have about
what is happening in the world with COVID-19 right now?
Task 4 - List two adults whom you think could challenge the
growth of youth in our project.
Week Four - Providing Support
Task 1 - Personal reflection: Write 100+ words about
how you are feeling about the world, yourself and
the future during COVID-19 lockdown.
Task 2 - Youth Insight: Send a list of 5 things you wish
adults knew about young people (100 points)
Task 3 - We need your help! To earn 300 points this
week please record a video clip (1 minute or
preferably less) responding to one or all of the
following questions and submit it back to us.
Q1 (Safer Spaces): What makes you feel safe in your community (emotionally safe or physically safe)? Why? *Please be as specific as possible when talking about your community*
Q2 (Safer Spaces): What makes you feel unsafe as a youth in your community and how can you encourage your community to make you feel safer? *for this one speak generally—please don’t mention any specific organizations, schools or names*
Q3 (COVID-19): How do you think your community is keeping you safe during COVID-19? Anyone you would like to thank and why?
Week Five - Expanding Possibilities
Task 1 - Share your favourites - Share your
favourite recipe(s) or song(s) – provide links/
photos where possible!
Task 2 - Broadening your horizon - Imagine
you could meet anyone in the world,
with the purpose of learning more about
things that interest you. List names, a job
profession(s) or companies/charities that
would help you learn and grow.
Task 3 - Worth knowing - Send a link and short description from a course/program/activity that you want to try or would encourage other youth to try.
Task 4 - COVID-19 Social Impact survey - Experiences Canada is a national registered charity that helps young Canadians to explore their country in ways they never may have imagined through reciprocal exchanges, forums, conferences and other opportunities to travel and connect with one another. They are asking youth across Canada about their attitudes and behaviours during the COVID-19 crisis to better understand their lived experiences in these unprecedented times and inform social policy. Your participation in this survey is highly appreciated. All information is strictly confidential.
Week Six - Sharing Power
Task 1 - Goal update: Provide an update on the
goal you submitted a few weeks ago OR simply
provide an update on some of your recent
Books read, relationships strengthened,
learning languages, trying new things,
rediscovering old hobbies, etc.
Task 2 - Community input: Give some ideas and thoughts on how your community can improve for youth (once quarantine is over). Examples: programs, services, stores, contests, opportunities that youth would like.
Task 3 - Input for HYI Program - Use the questions in the survey link that may prompt your evaluation. Mondays game, Tuesday communication crew, Wednesdays community builders, Thursday creative spaces.