As daughters of educators and proud advocates of education themselves, life-long best friends Sarah Shapiro and Skye Loventhal saw the hardships parents and students were facing with the shift to online classes and created the Covid NineTEEN Project to provide resources and address worldwide educational inequality. Every day, their organization hosts free teen-led activities and one-on-one tutoring sessions in English, Math, Science and History in multiple languages. Over 300 elementary school students are currently enrolled with over 150 teen mentors leading sessions. The Covid NineTEEN Project has expanded internationally with students from Argentina, Bangladesh, South Africa, Colombia, Canada, and many more!
Shapiro and Loventhal’s favorite part about their organization is creating meaningful connections with students and inspiring them to reach their fullest potential. Even in a short time frame, they have been able to make a positive impact on hundreds of students’ lives. Speaking about her time working with one student, Shapiro said, “We have truly built a wonderful connection where I can serve as a mentor to her. All of the learning moments and laughs have made any difficulties in establishing this program worth it.”
Social media was vital in growing the Covid NineTEEN Project and spreading its message. Many of the organization’s volunteers discovered the program through Instagram, and parents found information on the Covid NineTEEN Project through posts on Facebook groups. Additionally, the organization has reached out to individual schools, school districts, news channels, magazines, and more to share information about the Covid NineTEEN Project.
Shapiro and Loventhal “encourage youth activists to feel empowered to create their own organizations and to not feel discouraged from doing so simply because of their age.” It is important that students surround themselves with a group of peers who can develop and bounce ideas off of each other and motivate them to keep working towards their goals.
Outside of working on the Covid NineTEEN Project, Sarah Shapiro is an eleventh-grade student in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme at Granada Hills Charter High School, a nationally ranked speech and debate competitor, and the founding president of her school’s Girl Up Chapter. She aims to enact positive social change worldwide by using her voice to bring pertinent issues to the attention of the public. Co-founder Skye Loventhal is also a high school junior at Granada Hills Charter and part of the AP Capstone program. She is also the founding Vice President of her school’s Girl Up chapter, a softball coach, a kindergarten teaching assistant, and math tutor for underclassmen through her school’s Academic Mentor Program.
Learn more about Sarah, Skye, & the Covid NineTEEN Project: