The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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TIPS FOR TEENS: Virtual Party Time
Kids around the world mingle onscreen
Atl Castro

For teenagers like me who find it hard to stay indoors for days, we’ve found a peculiar solution: Zoom parties. Yes, Zoom, as in the app that’s supposed to be used for large scale online business meetings. It works by allowing two people or even hundreds of people to connect audio and video from any device and join a virtual “room.”

As the virus quickly decreases our mobility, we’ve transformed the app into an online oasis. It’s a place where kids can temporarily forget about their newfound isolation and enjoy the company of others.

On Saturday, March 14th, I received an invitation to a 1920s-themed Zoom party from Polluters Out, a climate activist organization. I thought it would be fun to meet new people and socialize after having spent so much time indoors. So I decided to join.

When I “arrived,” there were over 80 people already there from around the world. Along with my school friends, there were teens from Los Angeles, Seattle, and Indiana. A few joined from England. I wore a white button-up, but I turned out to be a little underdressed. Many wore suits and had slicked-back hair.

image by Atl Castro

Towards the beginning of the call, we gave everyone the opportunity to talk about how they were feeling.

“Los Angeles is in complete lockdown, so I’m just really bored,” someone said.

“Same over here. It’s so weird and kind of scary,” I responded, “Not having to go to school may be less stressful, but the streets are empty and I haven’t seen a lot of my friends in a long time.”

After talking through how we were feeling, after a couple of tries we somehow managed to get everyone on the Zoom call to synchronize the “it is what it is” meme, which drew a lot of laughs.

To curb the spread of the coronavirus, we’re being forced to sacrifice a lot, including school and our social lives. Despite this, it doesn’t have to stop us from finding comfort within one another, even if it’s through new and somewhat unusual ways.

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