Healthy NewsWorks launched the virtual book “Leading Healthy Change in Our Communities 2021: Doing the Undoable in a Pandemic.” This non-profit organization teaches journalism principles to elementary and middle school students focusing on health-related topics. Health NewsWorks “empowers students to become researchers, writers, critical thinkers and confident communicators”.
The COVID-19 was the solely research topic for this year. The reporters, with the help of the editorial team, wanted to record the pandemic stories of the individuals: challenges, lessons and hopes for the future. Each unique story exposed the struggles confronted by the interviewed, in a different work environment, during this global health crisis. This revealed that humans are very vulnerable, and we need the helping hand of each other to move forward.
This virtual book is divided in three main sections: “The Students Diaries,” “Voices of Resilience” and “Reflections and Dreams.” In the first category, the students reflected, in a chronological time, the accounts of their individual thoughts and feelings. As they reported, new concepts were abruptly introduced to our known environment: self-quarantine, social distance, wearing a mask and the use of hand sanitizer. The disruption of our life –for the unknown– was suddenly taken over for what we used to know.
The second part collected the reflectionsof community leaders that had the responsibility to carry over the wellbeing of the people in the community. Frontline workers had to be creative in order to accomplish their job. For instance, some doctors and nurses pinned a photo of themselves in their gown; meanwhile others helped COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit, connecting family members through Facetime using their own devices.
In the third section, the students’ personalobservations about this global pandemic highlighted those humans need social interaction to survive. The pandemic lesson: “being aware of the moment is a precious gift that we must embrace!” We needed to adapt, and practice, concepts that were very hard to grasp during this time: setting small goals, learning to be alone and embracing change.
In addition, the young reporters highlighted the stressful history time that we all lived in the United States, and in the world, with the death of George Floyd and the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Furthermore, the capitol riot on January 6th and the presidential inauguration on January 20th added another level of cumulative stress to the community during this time.
Unfortunately, we are still dealing with the pandemic. These stories are narratives of challenges and hopes for the future. We are still discovering new paths to live along with the COVID-19. What we used to know is gone and we must let it rest in peace! Moving forward means remembering what we have lost in our way: friends, family, and community members. We must learn how to be resilient and practice compassion and care!
Free virtual book: https://healthynewsworks.org/storage/flippdf/2021/?page=64
Healthy NewsWorks: https://healthynewsworks.org/