By Anthony Dy Ning
The Youth Now program offers youth in the community the opportunity to serve on a non-profit board of directors. It also tasks the Youth Now cohort with planning a group project to tackle and highlight a local community issue and to spread awareness to other Richmond residents.
This year’s Youth Now cohort has created a collage with a quote from Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying, “We are in this together and we will get through this together.” This quote, chosen by the Youth Now cohort, highlights the impact COVID-19 has placed on the Richmond community, especially the impact on the medical staff at the Richmond Hospital.
During these times, COVID-19 has shut down parks, restaurants, malls, and other places of social gatherings, limiting the kind of engagement the Youth Now team could do this year. Before quarantine was in effect, the Youth Now cohort’s plan was to attend a local community centre’s Easter event and engage the community there! The Youth Now team wanted to showcase that the Richmond community is strong together, and emphasize that if we follow health guidelines and regulations as a community, we will be able to come out of this pandemic stronger and better than the past. We hope that the Richmond community stays safe during these times!
Anthony Dy Ning
Throughout the process of working on the group project with the Youth Now cohort of 2020, I was able to learn more about the Richmond community and the importance of health care workers during this unprecedented time.
Originally, our team was going to go to a community centre to engage with the community and understand different ways Richmond could improve as a city; however, with the COVID-19 situation, we had to go a different route. This caused us to spend more time to ponder and think critically about how we could still make an impact virtually. While discussing, our team saw the various social media posts that praised health care workers. We thought that this was a great idea and path to let health care workers know that we support them for their work.
After completing the project online, I learned that working online can be difficult at times; however, fruitful ideas and discussions can come out of it. We were able to cooperate as a team and learn more about the impact of health care workers in Richmond. Hopefully, in the future, our Youth Now 2020 post will encourage local residents to engage more with their community, whether through volunteerism or on social media.
I can't help but contrast our initial plans for this project with the final result. Earlier incarnations of the project included public events, outings, and human interaction(!). Now, our project features a compilation of pictures taken from different locations. The posting will be online or in the newspaper, but no live meetings or appearances will ever be required. We've gone through several changes since we started, adapting to different timelines and conditions. I guess if there's anything that this pandemic has taught me—as exemplified by this project—change is inevitable; adaptation is necessary.
This Youth Now group project helped me gain a better and deeper understanding of leadership. In my life, I have seen many great and poor leaders. Often, I’ve taken good leaders for granted, and now I realize that brilliant leadership skills actually come with lots of practice and many lessons. I admire the excellent leadership that Dr. Henry and the BC government have demonstrated during this pandemic, and really appreciate the hard work that all health care workers have put in. It is an unforgettable experience that we have gone through together with our community. I am looking forward to the day when the vaccine finally comes, so we can end this battle.
Through the Youth Now group project, I’ve learned what it takes to be on a team, and the patience and cooperation that is required to see a plan come to fruition. More importantly, I’ve learned that teamwork is at the crux of solving issues and that it is exactly what we need to get us through the pandemic. When I look at what’s going on in the world, I see health care professionals and citizens working in unison to stop the spread of COVID-19. No matter how big or small a part one may play, everyone serves a critical role in this massive undertaking. The only way we can get through this is together, through collaboration, through teamwork.
My experience with COVID-19 as a Registered Nurse was overwhelming. My unit was no longer treating medical patients but COVID-19 patients. We were learning to adapt to the new and changing policies every day. Nurses were uncertain whether we were safe with the personal protective equipment we were wearing. And what about those with whom we were in contact? Were our immunocompromised loved ones safe?
At work, we hid our fears at the back of our minds. We masked our emotions as we took care of patients that were your father, mother, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and friends.
But during this overwhelming time, I had hope. I knew that I was not alone but that we were in this fight together. I knew that health care professionals in the hospitals and community were doing their best. I knew that I had the support of my friends and family at home. Thank you everyone for your support, encouragement, and patience during this stressful time. We are in this together. Yes, we are.
Leadership Richmond - Youth Now is funded by the Government of Canada's Canada Service Corps and Coast Capital Savings.