How Young Leaders Are Responding to COVID-19

We have always known that young people can make positive and long-lasting change in their home communities, but it is in times of distress when their leadership begins to take on an increased significance.

In 2017, Resolution Fellows were some of the first responders in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana.

Over the past few days, as we all come to terms with the realities of this current global pandemic, we are seeing—yet again—that young leaders are stepping up to the fray in cities and countries all around the world, from Mumbai, India, to Chepareria, Kenya, to Vancouver, Canada.

Some Resolution Fellows are responding to the pandemic through the work of their ventures, others are pivoting their work to focus on disaster response, yet others are mobilizing their communities to provide direct relief to those who need it the most.

Here’s a list of COVID-19-related work from Resolution Fellows thus far. We will continue to update this list as we receive more information over the coming days.

  • Whitley O’Connor’s venture, The Curbside Chronicle, is a monthly magazine created for and sold by people experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City. As a result of recent events, Whitley has launched a website to sell his magazine online which will enable Curbside to continue to provide support to homeless vendors in Oklahoma City. They are also facilitating food deliveries to out-of-work vendors.

 

  • Ying Zhang and Jiahua Chen’s venture, Pomme de Terre, is a food bank operating in Guangzhou, China. Recently, they hosted a challenge on WeChat for members of their food bank, who posted photos of the various ways they are making food using surplus ingredients while under quarantine.
  • Neelika Chakrabarti and Sagar Menon of Citta are working to combat the prevalence of mental health issues for young people in Mumbai, India. Citta are now in the process of moving their mental health trainings online and are increasing their presence on social media, where they have seen an uptick in activity as a result of a partial lockdown of Mumbai.
 

 

 
  • Hannah Dehradunwalah’s venture, Transfernation, is a food redistribution service based in New York City. Over the past few days, many restaurants have been forced to close as a result of government regulation in New York. Transfernation are currently working to redistribute all of the leftover food from these restaurants, and in just three days, have moved over 8,000 lbs of food to soup kitchens. They were recently featured in the New York Times for their work.
 
 
  • Andrew Aboujaoude, Alexis Ghersi, and Jennifer Carvel of Hearts for the Homeless work to support underserved people experiencing homelessness in many cities across the USA, including Orlando, Gainesville, Tampa, and Tallahassee. Over the last week, they have distributed sanitation items to over 300 homeless people in seven cities.
 
  • Celia Breuer’s venture, Siku Njema Kesho, provides access to quality education and shelter for underserved children in the outskirts of Nakuru town in Kenya. Over the last week, they have paid their staff advances to ensure they have the necessary resources in case of self-quarantine or a hospital visit. With schools expecting to close soon, the children they support (who are mostly at boarding school) will return home to their families. Over the weekend, Siku Njema Kesho met with family members and provided them with sanitation kits as well as training on virus prevention tactics.
 
  • Andy Chen and Leonard Kilekwang’s venture, Tecnosafi, disseminates public health information to the residents of Chepareria, Kenya, using a text message list-serve. In response to the current pandemic, Tecnosafi will send out information based on WHO guidelines, including educational material about virus-prevention and slowing the spread.
  • Vivian Tsang’s venture, H.O.P.E. for Success, is a mentorship program aimed at easing the transition from high school to university. In response to COVID-19, Vivian has initiated a student mobilization response program to help physicians on the front lines with everyday tasks. They are offering basic childcare, grocery shopping, trips to the pharmacy, pet care, and general errand support. So far, 650 students at the University of British Columbia have signed up to volunteer and they have personally helped over 100 physicians.
 
  • Anh-Thu Ho’s venture, Ladon Technologies, is a document translation service for non-English speakers in the USA. Ladon has recently launched a campaign to help translate pandemic-related documents for their clients who may not have a budget approved in time for emergency situations. Ladon will offer 50–100% off the price of their services to help ease any financial concerns their users may have when communicating with non-English speakers.
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