Ninth-graders establish support blog for teens to share stories

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Images from www.covid-tv.com. Edited by Leland Culver

COVID-TV, a site started by ninth graders Lauren Tapper and Kia Dutta, is meant to be a place for teenagers to connect and share stories during the stay-at-home order.

Leland Culver, Assistant Managing Editor

A photo of two people fist-bumping in gloves graces the top of COVID-TV, a website recently established by ninth-graders Lauren Tapper and Kia Dutta as a place for teens around the world to share their stories of staying home during the pandemic and provide support to each other.

“We realized that a situation as unfamiliar as this one can bring issues to teenagers that no one else could relate to,” said Kia, who is also a reporter for the Midway.

The site has no requirements for submission, and currently has entries from students from 32 schools in four countries. Fellow ninth-grader Sara Charles Waterstraat has made several submissions.

“It has been fun reading people’s blog posts and expanding the platform,” Sara Charles said. “It’s given us something interesting to do since we’re stuck at home.”

We wanted to do more than just talk about the coronavirus,” Kia said. “We wanted to actually do something to help the people who are struggling every day.”

— Kia Dutta

According to Lauren, the site has just established a “community projects” page, where teenagers apply to become ambassadors for one of four projects: making masks for healthcare workers, fundraising for children experiencing food insecurity, fundraising to support those unemployed by the pandemic and writing to state legislatures petitioning for laws to support communities in this time.

“We wanted to do more than just talk about the coronavirus,” Kia said. “We wanted to actually do something to help the people who are struggling every day.”

COVID-TV also has a forum for teens to connect and communicate informally with others in similar situations across the globe. People are asked to create a free account to post in the forum.

Lauren said, “The most rewarding part of starting COVID-TV is when people reach out to me and tell me how much the blog posts helped them [under stay-at-home orders], and how hearing other teenagers’ stories really comforted them.”