How has COVID-19 affected you? Detroit youths share their stories

In Detroit, as of Monday, April 13, there are 6,811 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The virus has claimed 391 lives so far. 

For teens, the pandemic has dramatically changed their lives. For one high school senior, it means he'll never get to experience one last milesone with the friends he's grown up with over the past four years. For another teen, she tries not to think about the virus too much, but she can't stop thinking about this one fear.

In partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, we wanted to know how COVID-19 is impacting local youth. Here are some of their stories.

Helen: My mom picked up a few things and headed into a long line, which we waited in for about 20 minutes. As we stood in that line, I silently watched the people around us. Many adults and kids were wearing blue and yellow face masks, with latex gloves to protect their hands. Though everyone was so close, we were so separated. Usually, people would be socializing but everyone just wanted to protect themselves. That’s when it hit me: COVID-19 won't just blow over — it's a pandemic that's slowly sweeping throughout the nation wreaking havoc everywhere it goes. While standing in that line I overheard a conversation with two elderly men and a lady. They were talking about how many jobs were being cut and how the government was setting a curfew. My mom overheard their conversation, and she chimed in with a joke. "Finally! A break.” They all laughed. Soon the line moved along. We rang up our purchases and left the store. That was a few weeks ago, the last time I left my house. Read more here.

Jeremiah: "With social distancing, we now separate ourselves from other parts of society. This has made me feel very much disconnected from my friends. Humans are made to be out and about and socialize with beings on Earth. These unfortunate events have led many people to be disconnected from society. This has allowed my mind to go to the dark side, where my fears come out. My main fear is “How long will my life be on pause?” I’m afraid of how long I will be stuck in the house and can’t see my friends. Will it be a couple more weeks or will it be a couple months?" Read more here.

Myles: "This is my last year being around people I have spent four years watching grow and growing with; friends who have become family, friends and people who I love that I cannot dap up or hug or have face-to-face interaction or conversation. This disconnect from people is heartbreaking and hard to say the least. This year is supposed to be the year where I live it out with these people who are so close to me because I don’t know when I will see these friends again after I graduate." Read more here.

This essay is part of a four-part series in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan exploring the impact on youth and local organizations serving youths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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