Calgary Cares: Teen volunteer group ‘COVID-9teen’ helping youth amid pandemic

A group of Calgary teenagers has started a volunteer initiative to get kids up and moving during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering free online dance and martial arts classes along with musical and dance performances.

They call themselves “COVID-9teen.”

“It feels amazing to see the audiences we’ve reached and to see a lot teenagers are willing to share their talents by performing or teaching us,” group founder Jing Hu, 17, said.

It started with a handful of teenage volunteers in Calgary and has now expanded across the country with upwards of 50 teen and youth teachers and performers.

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“It’s pretty amazing how just a group of teenagers can come together and create this organization that got bigger than we thought,” said volunteer dance instructor Jennifer Zhang.

Now, the teens are teaching online classes multiple days a week with upwards of 70 youth and teen participants.

“I get a little nervous,” teacher Jasmine Sun said. “But I feel like collaborating with everyone feels great.”

Along with dancing and martial arts, the online classes include piano and violin, drawing, songwriting and speech lessons. Every Saturday night, youth from across Canada also participate in a live talent show.

While the primary push behind it all is to get kids active and engaged during the pandemic, the group is also giving back to help youth and teens fighting COVID-19, raising money for Alberta Children’s Hospital.

“The money is to get more supplies for the children’s hospital to battle against COVID-19,” Zhang said.

To find out more about the free classes click here.

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