March 31, 2020

Youth Journal Entry – Helen, Age 13

Essay: I try not to worry much when thinking of COVID-19, but one fear always creeps in

This essay is written by Helen, a Boys and Girls Club member at Holden at Trix Academy.

Many things have changed as a result of COVID-19. Normally I would be at school on the weekdays expanding my mind, but with everything happening with COVID-19 my school and many others have been shut down for the remainder of the year. Instead of being in a classroom and learning, we are sent packets and given work online. You’re probably thinking “well at least you still get to learn,” and that may be true but not everyone has the resources to learn, or maybe we learn better in a classroom setting. School being closed is just one way COVID-19 has caused a lot of damage.

I haven’t really left my house to see firsthand the damage caused by COVID-19, but the first time I did leave my house it was frightening. I’ve always thought that COVID-19 will just blow over, no need to worry. But slowly that little thought of hope has been replaced with fear. When I first left my house in weeks to restock on supplies and groceries, I wasn’t expecting the world to be in such a panic. Many stores were sold out of supplies. My mom and I went to Mike’s Fresh Market, which was filled with desperate people in need of food and home supplies. The instant we got in the store, my mom started shopping as if all of the supplies would be gone before we had the chance to get them. Luckily for us, there was still food and supplies for us to buy.

My mom picked up a few things and headed into a long line, which we waited in for about 20 minutes. As we stood in that line, I silently watched the people around us. Many adults and kids were wearing blue and yellow face masks, with latex gloves to protect their hands. Though everyone was so close, we were so separated. Usually, people would be socializing but everyone just wanted to protect themselves. That’s when it hit me: COVID-19 won’t just blow over — it’s a pandemic that’s slowly sweeping throughout the nation wreaking havoc everywhere it goes. While standing in that line I overheard a conversation with two elderly men and a lady. They were talking about how many jobs were being cut and how the government was setting a curfew. My mom overheard their conversation, and she chimed in with a joke. “Finally! A break.” They all laughed. Soon the line moved along. We rang up our purchases and left the store. That was a few weeks ago, the last time I left my house.

I’m an introvert but I’m used to a little social interaction. Now that’s not even an option, and I feel isolated from the real world. Waking up and doing the same thing over and over in my house gets boring. But if it means I play a part in the ending of COVID-19 I’ll do what I can. I try not to worry much when thinking of COVID-19, but one fear always creeps in. My mom works two jobs. She works at a plant and Dollar Tree. Though the plant is closed she still has to go to Dollar Tree since it is an essential store. Knowing she deals with a lot of people I know there’s a fair chance she can come in contact with COVID-19 but, I always wash that fear away because I know she is taking the precautions to prevent the germs.

When my mom goes to work, she makes sure she disinfects her whole work area. She also brings a personal hand sanitizer with her to clean her hands. When her shift is over, she still has to put back stock, so she wears latex gloves to prevent any contamination. When she gets off work every day she comes straight in and takes a shower. Every night she washes her clothes; she says it’s to stop the germs from traveling. My mom fears catching the virus and spreading it to our family. But she knows she still has to provide for her family and keep her commitment to her job.

The BGCSM has helped alleviate many of my fears. They also have provided a form of social interaction. Knowing that in this time of crisis the BGCSM is still trying to make our lives somewhat normal is amazing. With school being closed, we really need this social interaction. Besides participating at the Boys and Girls Club, many kids participate in school activities. For instance, I would participate in advanced tutoring groups and a dance group. But now with those things are over, you would expect the Boys & Girls Club to end too, but they didn’t. They help keep our interest alive and keep our minds active, and I thank them for that.

This essay is part of a four-part series in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan exploring the impact on youth and local organizations serving youths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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