Teen Spearheads COVID-19 Care Kits For Teachers, Wins National Award

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HOWARD COUNTY, MD — A Howard County teenager with the idea to assemble COVID-19 teacher care kits during the height of the coronavirus pandemic has been named a Prudential Emerging Visionary for his efforts, one of 25 such high schoolers to receive the recognition.

Arthur Wang, 17, and his sister, Amanda, prompted 42 other students from 12 Howard County Public School System buildings to form the nonprofit Clarksville Youth Care Group. Together they raised $5,000 through an online fundraiser to help kick-start the project and ended up donating more than 1,400 protective kits to educators at 62 schools.

"Back in March 2020 when the pandemic just started, my sister and I wanted to help PPE situations because PPE was very scarce back then. After we learned of the Johns Hopkins DIY face shield procedures, we decided to make DIY face shields to help the local community," Wang told Patch. "We asked friends in the community to help, which was the origin of the group and why it is called the Clarksville Youth Care Group. This DIY Face Shield Project got attention really fast and expanded our group drastically to 53 students in 15 schools. The project was really successful, giving us the opportunity to make 3660 DIY face shields for 101 different medical groups and first responders in over seven states."

"This year we shifted our focus from medical workers to teachers since we realized how much effort teachers have put in in order to keep the virtual and hybrid learning environment engaging. We really want to show our appreciation to our amazing teachers, so we initiated the Teacher Care Kit project," he added.

The kits students put together included a handmade colorful mask, complete with a pocket designed to hold a filter. They also include an "ear saver" to reduce the strain and discomfort that mask straps could put on ears, a lanyard to keep the mask handy and a thank you card.

"Teachers loved the school-themed, unique, handmade masks and ear savers. We received a lot of thank you notes and letters," Wang said.

Wang will receive an additional $5,000 to continue the project. He told Patch that their valued project continues to need support from the community.

"The materials, especially the specially designed fabrics, are very expensive; some cost $20 per yard. We have a GoFundMe to help fundraise for the materials and we really appreciate any donations of any amount. We also have a special program called the Sponsor Program, where parents/students can sponsor a teacher care kit. With a $10 donation, you can sponsor a teacher care kit to a teacher of your choice, with your name on it. We are also looking for business sponsorships," he said.

Teen Spearheads COVID-19 Care Kits For Teachers, Wins National Award originally appeared on the Columbia Patch