Activism. Reform. Impact.
These three words have become the driving force between Generation Z, or Gen Z, and their ambitions. Gen Z is considered the cohort after millennials and has been called the “innovation generation”. In a report by Girls With Impact, 65% of Gen Z’ers strive to create something world-changing and impact-driven. This impact is apparent as Gen Z leads the Black Lives Matter Movement through grassroots efforts, such as peaceful protesting and social media campaigning. Due to the increased accessibility of technology and knowledge, Gen Z tends to educate themselves further on actions to support various social issues, including COVID-19 related challenges.
As a Gen Z herself, Tracy Chen, a volunteer with the C19 Coalition and the youngest member of the team, upholds the virtue of ‘doing something greater’. She is an upcoming senior in High School with ambitions to go into the medical field. As a future healthcare professional, her motivation to volunteer with the Coalition is to help others. At her young age, opportunities to reach a greater audience are not always evident. However, Chen went beyond to find COVID-19 related volunteer opportunities.
She researched to find volunteer listings and stumbled upon a Facebook group full of medical students. They were able to connect her with the Coalition around the end of March.
Chen started with the help desk team to answer calls and assist with emails, however, through her hard work she has expanded into the social media team. Being Gen Z and quick to social media trends, Chen is currently strategizing the C19 Coalition’s upcoming Instagram.
Her dedication to C19 Coalition’s mission stems from her experience with the helpdesk.
“I know it’s cliche, but when I spoke with a lady on the phone, she said ‘thank you so much’ because I helped her out to find a resource”, said Chen as she recalled her motivation to continue volunteering.
For Chen, being in a position to help someone out uplifts all the unprecedented events that have occurred due to COVID-19. The small ‘thank yous’ that come with volunteering often become the force that keeps many of the C19 Coalition’s team to strive for better outcomes.
Q&A with Tracy Chen
Tell us about your background.
I live in Queens, NY where I commute about two hours just to get to school. I’m an upcoming senior in High School right now where I do track. In school, there’s a mentorship program with freshmen so I have a little sib. When I was a freshman, I had a big sib so I’ve always wanted to pay it forward and become a big sib to help someone else. I have my own Depop store where I sell jewelry. I’ve made about 900 sales on there. The money that I received from my jewelry, I always use some of it to donate.
What made you interested in volunteering with C19 Coalition?
I wanted to do something, to be honest. I’m doing some coursework right now, but it typically lasts an hour or so. I wanted to help with the pandemic and a lot of my interests are in healthcare so I thought right now would be a great opportunity to volunteer.
When you think about our mission, what motivates you to continue volunteering?
I started volunteering late March or so where I helped with the helpdesk by answering calls and sometimes emails. I remember in April, there were so many calls. But it was also an opportunity for me to see the effects of COVID. There was actually an individual who called and we emailed back and forth for a while so that I could provide them additional resources. They thanked me. It felt great.
If you are interested in joining Tracy and volunteering with the C19 Coalition, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alizay Rizvi is a blogger with the C19 Coalition. She has worked on health equity programs, including at the American Heart Association, to increase diversity in the health and social justice sector and aid in finding solutions to lessen health disparities and inequities in the United States. As a young professional, she is passionate about educating and empowering her generation to become agents of change. You can find her on LinkedIn.