Joseph Mai and Gurik Mangat are two grade ten students who attended Tamanawismun on February 29th, 2020. On this day, they had the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions and diplomatic arguments at the Model United Nations conference. They were able to receive a holistic view of various global issues that day. One of the topics addressed was the Coronavirus.
Joseph Mai found it to be a vital topic to discuss as “it is a very current and pressing issue that we all needed to discuss and find solutions for.” Gurik Mangat believed that “talking and debating about the Coronavirus and other infectious diseases/pandemics in general[...] helped put the whole situation into focus. It showed us how pandemics have major long-lasting social, political, and economic impacts and when governments are dealing with pandemics they have to come up with solutions that respect all those different disciplines.”
The information gained from the conference “showed the extent of the damage done by viruses and how often the general public has to do their part.” He strongly urges that “the general public [does not] panic and stay[s] calm. As long as people follow the advice of experts the virus will go away.” Grade ten, Jayden Les, strongly agrees with this notion as well. “Coronavirus is a deadly disease; however, the panic level is far too high. People think that this could end their life, but, while that is technically true, it's only a 3.41% chance, and due to misinformation people are acting like monsters.” He also believes that humanity has publicized its “worst side” in this crisis. For instance, a few days ago, he had spotted someone with “20 boxes of Kleenex, not to mention the people in the USA who went around buying all the hand sanitizers and reselling it for a higher price.” Despite these terrible acts, he does not allow them to discourage or hinder him from bestowing kindness in the community. For instance, he “got [his] mom Halls and Nyquil because she got a cold and also offered to bake for anyone under quarantine.” Additionally, he contacted Senator Julie Miville-Dechêneto to see if he could “be of assistance during this difficult time.” He believes that “we need to share the burden” of this pandemic in unity. To do as such, impactful organizations such as Job’s Daughter, are encouraging their young members to lend support to their community. Grade eleven Regan Holding is part of this organization. She shares how there is a group of women in Job’s Daughter who “are doing craft tutorials, sharing virtual field trips, and tours of museums, as well as making sourdough starters and bread from it.” Those are some of the things that she is engaging in, as well, and have witnessed “the most interactions with.” She trusts that these activities will alleviate people’s stress, and help with “people's mental health.” Like Gurik Mangat she believes that we should follow the instructions of experts, and “encourage youth to stay inside.” This is something she finds “most valuable because some of us may have COVID-19 and are not showing symptoms and we might spread it to people with compromised immune systems such as the elderly.” Hence, Job’s Daughter is initiating virtual programs. Similarly to Job’s daughter, Whiterock Youth Ambassadors is a platform for youth to support others. Through Whiterock Youth Ambassadors, Karina Zhou and Ella Ramsay aid their community during the pandemic. Ella Ramsay shares that “as ambassadors for the community, we thought it was really important for us to be vocal and present during this time. We wanted to continue with our program in any way that we could.” They hosted a Skype meeting the previous Monday and determined the most suitable way to safely continue would be over social media.“We wanted to encourage people to stay at home and provide a little bit of lightheartedness at the same time. So, we made a plan to release positive videos about our own experiences in self-isolation. We also asked our candidates to make short videos introducing themselves, as a way for them to interact with the community and continue with their candidacy safely. We hope that we’re providing a bit of levity with our online presence.” Karina Zhou also brought into light the many other initiatives they had come up with. “We want to reach out to the seniors in White Rock, and one of the ways we discussed is by baking personalized cookies for them.” Through social media, the team is making sure “our local businesses are still supported and those who are in need can be heard.” They support local businesses by sharing their announcements and news. “We inform the community of businesses that are still open and ways we can still contribute. For instance online delivery.” Through these actions, the youth of today demonstrate that even the smallest of gestures can amount to positivity in these strenuousness times. However, for those who are not part of such organizations, they can still contribute to flattening this malicious curve. Practicing basic hygiene, social distancing, and following the advice of experts are a few such methods. As Jayden Les eloquently phrases this “stay inside, don’t touch your face, wash your hands, self-quarantine [...] and realize that you're doing it for everyone and not just yourself.” Please adhere to the regulations implemented by experts, so that we do not subject the vulnerable to extensive and unnecessary problems. We must forever thank those who are contributing more than just their valuable time, but their concern and spirit that keeps our community alive. From medical experts, and the grocery store workers, to the youth of today, you are causing a ripple effect of wonderful deeds.
“Right now, I just want to remind everyone in the community that we’ll get through this. We have to make the best use of our time, stay inside whenever possible, and [not] panic. Support each other by keeping communications open. There are so many great and easy ways to keep in touch these days, so let’s use them! Self-isolation doesn’t mean total isolation. Now is a great time to utilize the technology at our fingertips, so we can talk to each other and interact with one another.” Ella Ramsay finds human beings to be “social by nature” and that it’s important to support one another and keep in contact safely.
Even as uncertainty continues to persist in our society, we must retain our sense of humanity. We mustn't allow these difficult times to hinder our sense of community. For some, that is the only source of strength they can rely on.