Fighting back

Girls' Life magazine|June/July 2020

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Fighting back
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put the world on pause, these six teens are working to stitch their communities back together—one mask, meal or virtual meet-up at a time.
By Katherine Hammer


Isabella Yu, 17

As a mentor at MakeX, a Palo Alto, Calif., student-run maker space, Isabella Yu was no stranger to 3D printing. “Before the pandemic, 3D printing was often just for cool personal projects,” she says, “but now it’s really taken on a new meaning for everyone. It’s less of a hobby—and more of a lifesaving thing.”

When Isabella heard about hospitals’ personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage, she knew MakeX had to step up. Isabella and her fellow makers decided to partner with another local maker space and print face shields for nearby medical workers.

“We really wanted to help out our doctors and nurses who are doing so much during this difficult time,” Isabella says of MakeX. “We’ve produced over 6,000 face shields in the past few weeks.”

Their current goal? 200,000 shields to help those on the front lines of the pandemic.

While living in one of the first COVID-19 hotspots has been stressful, Isabella has found solace in her service. “The medical professionals have been so thankful for what MakeX has been doing,” she says. “It makes me feel that much more connected to my community.”


Mira Kwon, 17

Back in early March, Mira Kwon was focused on school, sports, her social life and applying to college. But when her entire world changed, she found herself with extra free time— and a newfound passion for helping our most vulnerable citizens fight food insecurity and isolation.

While looking for ways to help, she came across Zoomers to Boomers, a national organization that pairs teens with the elderly and the immunocompromised to deliver groceries.

Instantly inspired, Mira launched the Los Angeles branch of the program and threw herself into community service work. “We partner with local produce vendors and do contactless delivery,” she says of her project, for which she’s recruited over 30 peer volunteers, mainly through social media. “Everyone’s willing to help out in any way they can.”


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June/July 2020