Insights from Delray Youth About COVID-19 Stories

Date of Session: March 21, 2020

Youth involved in the EJS Project in Delray Beach participated in a virtual sensemaking session facilitated by Palm Health Foundation. Below are some of their observations:

  • Many stories highlight the lack of resources for community members to maintain their health and well-being during quarantine. These resources include information, technology, money, and steady employment.
  • Youth saw a connection between lack of information and lack of leadership. Despite an overflow of information from many sources, not all of it is useful, and it’s difficult to know who to trust.
  • Families need support, particularly those with parents who are elderly, laid off, or struggling to adopt to their children’s online learning needs.
  • Experiences of the COVID-19 crisis vary greatly from one family to the next. Some stories describe relatively minor challenges (e.g., missing graduation) while others describe severe struggles (e.g., the hospitalization of a family member).

During the session, youth discussed how the homeless in Delray are more visible. One story in particular caught their attention. Predicting that drug use would worsen, youth agreed and thought this may happen as people become more depressed.

What can we do?

After discussing the stories, youth came up with some small-scale actions with the potential to benefit the community.

  • Schools could use their robocall lists and associated technology to disseminate needed information (e.g., about the newly released SNAP guidelines). Youth also brainstormed other methods for getting information to those who need it.
  • Virtual support circles can be established to check in on the elderly, caregivers, struggling parents, and anyone in need of support.
  • Some community members may be capable of delivering food and medicine to their more vulnerable neighbors.