Youth Programs

Students Share Words of Hope, Worry, and Wonder in the Time of COVID-19

In April 2020, as the end of the spring neared, summer was on the horizon, and our Youth Programs were on pause pending more information about school closures, youth programs coordinator Olivia Jones-Hall invited students to pause, reflect, and respond.

In her call for responses from students, she asked…

“In times of uncertainty, we find ways to comfort the people we love. We think, what do they want to hear? What will make them feel safe? Sometimes, we forget to extend this same courtesy to ourselves. What would you like to hear from someone else at a time like this? What advice or comforting message would make you take a deep breath and feel reassured, even for a moment?”

The responses were beautiful and swift. We received over two dozen replies in one week. As you’ll read, some asked for answers, others asked or offered assurance. As our students hopefully find time to rest over the summer, we find ourselves collectively still floating in a moment of uncertainty—of what the upcoming academic year will look like, of how long this will affect our lives, of what’s to come in the face of momentous revolution.

These students’ words remain as pertinent and powerful as ever. We invite you to take a moment to pause and reflect alongside their words and, perhaps, even write your own response to this prompt.


“It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to feel as if you lost something or everything. It’s okay to feel numb. It’s okay to find joy when others don’t. It’s okay to go on a walk and think about how nice it is outside. it’s okay to stay in your bedroom until it starts to smell bitter. It’s okay to reach out to loved ones, but it is also okay to reach out to yourself. It’s okay to make your bed just to get back into it, it’s okay to leave it and not touch it all day. It’s okay.” -Stella Orr.