Getting through Rough Times

NJHI 2017: Next Generation Community Leaders Next Gen Leaders
With schools closed and interactions among peers replaced by social distancing, the Bridgeton Next GEN Leaders are participating in journaling exercises to remain connected to each other, to their coaches and to the community. Project Director and coach Nina Young is providing a set of writing prompts to support the youth in documenting how these uncertain times are impacting their lives. Below, Next Generation Community Leader Rigoberto Silva Mendez, 15, shares his experience of the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. He wrote this reflection between April 7 and April 16, 2020.

Rigoberto Silva Mendez, 15
The Coronavirus has been going on for a few weeks now, and social distancing rules have been followed around the world. According to social media and my generation’s assumptions, many teens are going through a difficult time. I can sympathize with other teens that are scared from the lack of human interaction or because their family has contracted the virus. My father is very fearful for my mother’s health because she has tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Amid shelter-in-place orders, Bridgeton Next Generation Community Leader Rigoberto Silva Mendez, 15, is using the time to develop his culinary skills by cooking for his family.

It’s been rough on my family and many other families. However, thinking on the bright side can help your mental state. Our generation has never experienced a crisis like this and all humans are social beings. Keeping yourself occupied and being productive can bring a sense of joy that comes with accomplishing a task. As an example, I’ve been cooking a different dish every day now and I don’t depend on anyone for my meals. I’m focused on cooking for my family, but I appreciate that I have incredible motivation to cook because I know it’s a skill that is going to help me in the future. Going on an adventure of learning new skills and acquiring new talents is a sure way to stay productive in these times. Learn to cook, learn a different language, stay physically active and do your homework.

Of course, nowadays it’s easy to distract yourself with the vast amount of online entertainment. Remember to appreciate this significant amount of time at home and use it to better yourself. In addition, keep following the guidelines to stay safe from this terrifying virus.

Explore the Bridgeton team’s work to improve health for their families, friends and neighbors prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Meet all 10 Next Generation Community Leaders teams here.

The Grantee Blog regularly publishes updates from NJHI-supported communities. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.

Rigoberto Silva Mendez, 15
Tri-County Community Action Agency, Inc.