Laguna Beach High School junior Katelyn Kolberg is volunteering with a group of more than 60 Orange County teenagers to provide relief to those impacted by the coronavirus as part of the COVID-19 Relief Passion Project.
The group is divided into task forces including art, fundraising, face mask sewing, face shield manufacturing, community outreach, research, and writing.
As the writing task force leader, Katelyn is responsible for assigning topics to writers and editing blog posts before publishing them to the project’s website, which she also designed. So far the students have written about mental wellness, the importance of social distancing, and highlighted grassroots efforts to thank health care workers. She also updates the group’s social media channels.
“I am glad to be a part of this group because I wanted to give back and inform the public on what is going on through something I enjoy doing, which is writing,” Katelyn said in a prepared statement. “All aspects of the project, from sewing to writing to research, have made such a difference to inform and help the community.”
So far the project has made and distributed over 500 hand-sewn face masks to nurses, hospital staffers, self-isolating seniors, and families. The students have also made and distributed over 100 face shields to local clinics, Long Beach Fire Department, emergency room staffers, doctors, and families. To help senior citizens, project members have facilitated a pen-pal program with a local senior center and obtained groceries.
Laguna Beach High School alumna Shellee Howard, founder of CollegeReadyPlan.com, said she was inspired to organize the project through talking with one of her high school student clients, Grace Jones.
“We gave people something they could do safely from home to make a difference at a time when there was so much certainty,” Howard said.
As a college admission advisor, Howard requires all of her clients to pursue a passion project to help them learn whether they’re a follower or a leader and how they want to help their community.
All of the COVID-19 Passion Project’s current members are clients of CollegeReadyPlan.com but Howard said anyone is welcome to participate in its efforts.
Every student that works with College Ready does a passion project because it teaches whether they’re a follower or a leader and how they want to help their community.
“Both of my children are in medical school and I am concerned about what they have to face,” Howard said in a statement. “I believe the students I get to mentor are change makers and I wanted to give them an opportunity to show how amazing they are.”
Those who want to volunteer, donate, need supplies, and/or wan to support can visit Covid19PassionProject.com.