Ypsilanti's Corner Health Center is planning a series of online discussions for teens following the resounding success of a Zoom webinar entitled "COVID Happened - So Now What?"
In partnership with Ford Motor Co. Fund and the Congressional Award Foundation, Corner Health hosted the initial webinar on June 10. About 50 young people from southeast Michigan and a few from as far away as Ohio and Georgia participated in the discussion. The event was moderated by Caleb Boswell, a licensed therapist and student advisor for Washtenaw Community College.
Kamilah Davis-Wilson, youth development and outreach manager for Corner Health, says the webinar's purpose was to discuss COVID-19, but youth also wanted to discuss the national protests and debate over police brutality and systemic racism.
"Youth were not in school, and they are really paying attention now," Davis-Wilson says. "Normally they'd be focused on school and sports, but now with them being home on their phones and TV, they can see exactly what's happening and they're affected by all of it."
Youth participated in a group discussion with adults before going to private breakout rooms for more discussion on topics like what they missed most during COVID-19 restrictions, and what it's like to be stuck at home with parents all day.
Davis-Wilson says feedback on the event has all been positive so far.
"We got an email from a teacher in Washtenaw County who suggested one of the students participate and were told the student loved it," Davis-Wilson says. "The teacher was excited the student was able to get in there and talk to other youth who were feeling the same way they feel."
Davis-Wilson says one of the event's goals was to "help youth know their words are important."
"It allowed them to talk about how they really feel and help them realize they could help each other and help themselves," she says. "... They are really stressed out."
Corner Health plans to turn the event into a series. Dates have not been firmed up yet, but staff say the next session might be launched as soon as late July. Davis-Wilson says the second event is likely to continue the first discussion's COVID-19 theme, followed by other topics requested by participating teens.
Those interested in future events in the series can watch the Corner Health Center website or the Corner Health Facebook page for announcements.
For more Concentrate coverage of our community's response to the COVID-19 crisis, click here.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Corner Health Center.