Youth Led Community Outreach – De’Andra
I first learned about the Coastal Management Project in December of last year. Back when we thought 2020 would be a fantastic, fruitful year. I was extremely excited to have the chance to step into a leadership role with Chicago Adventure Therapy, after being a participant for about five years, and to have the opportunity to introduce paddling to more people while also helping to clean the water that we are so lucky to have in Chicago. I was also excited to teach more people about how to be safe in the water so that they should have more access to it. CAT introduced me to kayaking and water safety when I was 16, and it made my life so much better and gave me something to look forward to doing with a community I genuinely cared for. I wanted to help provide that experience for other people.
The pandemic started just as we began to plan our Water Safety Talks. In the midst of juggling the quarantine, my other job, and some personal issues, we had to rethink our approach to the water safety talks completely. As much as I would’ve preferred to be able to provide the presentations in person, I think that we reached more people than we would’ve been able to. We quickly taught ourselves about audio quality and video editing to produce seven short videos in 7 weeks. I am beyond proud of us for finding a way to get quality information to people in an easily digestible form. No, this is not what I expected the first part of this project to entail, but I am proud that we were able to refocus and come together during a pandemic to complete our water safety talks. I look forward to brainstorming more ideas about how we can make the rest of this grant’s facets both informative and engaging while still trying to keep everyone as safe as possible.