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Students Lead Burnaby Youth Response to COVID-19

A group of 19 students from seven secondary schools in the Burnaby School District joined together with a common mission:

To foster and build a sense of community and provide relevant information to students across Burnaby during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through their Instagram account the group, Burnaby Youth COVID-19 Team, is sharing updates, information and activities for other youth.

They originally connected in April as part of a youth focus group for a coalition of groups leading Burnaby’s coronavirus response: the Burnaby Primary Care Network. Students continue to attend weekly meetings with the group, sharing ideas and taking input.

The students recognize that it takes youth to understand what other youth are going through. They also wanted to continue providing a strong voice within the community and began their own separate meetings once per week with school district support.

Community School Coordinator Bal Dhillon has been working with the group:

These are student leaders in their schools, already, who wanted to help folks understand what youth need and what they need to know during these unusual times.”

During the meetings, students have discussed concerns on the minds of both themselves and other youth. After identifying issues and forming subcommittees, they brainstormed, planned and executed projects.

From Burnaby North Secondary and in Grade 12, Cassandra Saciotto, is one of the students:

We want to create community while we are isolated in our homes.”


The group has worked hard to support their peers. Among their efforts: they have hosted a Q&A session with a local physician leader – this was done in collaboration with the Burnaby Primary Care Network; shared information about domestic violence – which is on the rise during the pandemic; built community with games such as “Quarantine Bingo”; and provided information about supports for those struggling with stress and maintaining mental health. They have also shown leadership with a statement on Black Lives Matter.

Additionally, the youth team is working on a financial literacy talk and mental health talk in collaboration with the Burnaby Primary Care Network.

The students also plan to continue their efforts over the summer, including working to reduce feelings of isolation by building connections between seniors and youth in the community.

You can “meet” the team members and see their work on their Instagram account.

Posted June 2020