As we surpass one year of responding to challenges of adolescent and young adults that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on why we commit to this work. At the AYAH National Resource Center, we are appreciative of the magnitude that Title V Adolescent Health programs and their partners put forth to continue to strengthen, improve, and build equitable systems that support the well-being of young people. In an effort to pause and re-ground ourselves in the reasons why we show up to work day-in and day-out, we wanted to amplify a youth voice, as shared in the American Academy of Pediatric's Council on School Health's Winter 2021 newsletter . This writing is being re-shared with permission from the author, Katherine Lewton.
By: Katherine Lewton - High School Student, Vermont
Member, Vermont RAYS (Raise Awareness of Youth Services), a Youth Health Advisory Council
We have zoom, google meet, facetime, and every other form of video service at our fingertips,
But we don’t have a true connection.
There is no replacement for the smiles in the hallway, the feeling of winning playoff games, and the satisfaction of knowing the correct answer.
We want to be kids, but the pandemic has forced us to grow. We are still young, but we feel so aged by all we have been dealt.
We want to cry about all we’re missing, as we’re still just kids trying to cope, but we also know that we are grateful for our health and safety. We feel guilty, relieved, and completely terrified.
We’re big kids, we can handle the truth, but we also want our loved ones to hold us tight, and tell us it will all be alright.
Because we’re just kids in crazy times.
We are trying to be mature, but please remember we’re just naive kids.
We miss the embrace of our friends, small talk with teachers, and those early school mornings we once dreaded. We miss our lives. We miss just being kids.
We are really trying our best to be strong, so please just be patient and tell us if we do something wrong. Remember that we are still young and living through strange times.
Because we are just kids.
We’re missing silly school crushes and awkward proms. These things that we always thought were going to be part of our life, well, now they’re gone.
But it’s okay, we will be alright. We are still just kids with a whole lot of time.
In the age of social media, love can occur online, and we’re learning to adapt.
But please, just remember that we are just kids. We try our best, and we learn as we go. We’re bound to make mistakes, it’s only normal.
When you’re a teen everything feels so serious, but now it really is.
So help us learn how to grow up during these unprecedented times, but also help us remember that we’re just kids.
We haven’t gotten to be kids in a while, and we’re not ready to be completely grown up just yet.