Tina Yong, a Grade 12 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary, writes a letter to a senior as part of the “QuaranteensBC” initiative that she and classmate Jasmine Chahal started. (Submitted photo: Tina Yong)

Tina Yong, a Grade 12 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary, writes a letter to a senior as part of the “QuaranteensBC” initiative that she and classmate Jasmine Chahal started. (Submitted photo: Tina Yong)

Surrey ‘Quaranteens’ connect teens, seniors with letter-writing project

Students started initiative due to COVID-19 pandemic

Two Fleetwood Park Secondary students are working to connect teens with seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tina Yong, a Grade 12 student, said she was asked to participate in another project, Sparkathon Building Bridges, where teams of teenagers were asked to address the challenge prompt: How can youth stay connected when face-to-face interactions are impossible.

“During that meeting, I started brainstorming with my team and we kind of came up with this idea of connecting teenagers not just with each other, but with people all across different generations,” she said.

That idea turned into writing letters for seniors.

READ ALSO: Surrey long-term care home staff get surprise thank-you gift, April 18, 2020

Tina, along with her classmate Jasmine Chahal, started organizing “QuaranteensBC.”

Since starting in mid-April, Tina said about 50 students from across the Lower Mainland have started writing letters to residents of seniors homes.

So far, Tina said they’ve got six homes on board, but she and Jasmine are still in the process of reaching out to more.

“Usually their response is super positive and the (recreation) directors are super happy to be able to set something up like this,” she said. “They always say it’s really good for the seniors, they really need this because right now they’re in isolation and they don’t have much to look forward to, so letters are a really nice thing to wake up to and see.’”

READ ALSO: Surrey Schools pilots ‘stigma-free toolkit’ amid COVID-19 pandemic, May 2, 2020

As for the teenagers, Tina said they’ve received “so many heartwarming messages” from them.

“I feel like a lot of them are looking for a sense of purpose right now because school’s out, they don’t have as much schoolwork to focus on. A lot of them have been reflecting,” said Tina, adding that she said she’s had some friends reach out to say there’s “not much meaning” in their lives right now.

“So it’s nice to have something that they can work on that makes a difference in the bigger community because a lot of volunteering initiatives are down right now.”

Tina said the group prefers to have handwritten letters that are then scanned and then sent to the homes. But if people don’t have a scanner, she said people can type out the letters, “but we always ask them to use a font that looks like it’s in handwriting.”

Asked how the letter writing is going, Tina said, “It’s kind of funny actually because when we first started, we would send out an email with all the instructions and things like that, but I guess we weren’t being thorough enough because we’d get some email back from volunteers saying, ‘So how do you start a letter? Do I say hello, what’s up?’

“It was kind of funny to see the generational divide and people don’t really communicate through this medium anymore, but I also think it’s really cool how we’re kind of introducing these teenagers, who don’t know too much about previous generations, to some of the means they used to communicate. I think that’s kind of… the bigger purpose of this project.”

If people are interested in taking part in the QuaranteensBC initiative, they can email quaranteensbc@gmail.com or check out their Instagram, @quaranteensbc.

READ ALSO: Surrey students create free online tutoring, mentorship program, April 18, 2020



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

White Rock Public Library (File photo)
Surrey, White Rock literacy leaders kick off Family Literacy Week

Literacy events to take place Jan. 24 to 31

Laura Barnes is to feature some of her artwork at Gallery at Central Plaza next month. (Contributed photo)
New artist showcase coming to White Rock gallery

Laura Barnes work, mixing brights and darks, to be displayed in February

Surrey Community Cat Foundation received funding to assist with medical procedures. (File photo)
SurreyCats receives grant to assist with spay/neuter costs

PetSmart Charities of Canada donates $5,000

Beds are set up at the emergency response centre at the North Surrey Recreation Centre. (Contributed file photo)
26 people test positive for COVID-19 at Surrey emergency shelter

Centre located at North Surrey Recreation Centre

Surrey firefighters respond to a townhouse fire Sunday morning. (Shane MacKichan photos)
Firefighters respond to townhouse fire in Surrey

Fire ‘knocked down quickly’: witness

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

Most Read