Tapping into Arizona youth and young adult creativity as response to COVID-19
With their passion and creativity, many individuals have found ways to add their unique spin on public service messages, especially regarding COVID-19 mask wearing, vaccination brochures or videos. The Arizona Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities hopes to inspire youth and young adults from Arizona communities to showcase their artistic talents through the new “It’s Our Turn” contest and the “I Got the Shot” campaign.
CEAL consists of a partnership between Northern Arizona University, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Mayo Clinic, and the Arizona Community Health Worker Association. The partnership seeks to reduce the burden of COVID-19 on communities across the state. Together with members and leaders of African American, Latino/a, and Native American communities, CEAL aims to provide trustworthy information through active community engagement and outreach to the people hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s Our Turn contest
The “It’s Our Turn” contest is the newest CEAL effort underway. This contest invites youth and young adults to submit their own creative take on a health message about COVID-19 vaccinations and masks or another pandemic-related health effect on youth. “It’s Our Turn” is also a research study to understand how messages created by youth and young adults helps protect communities from COVID-19 and raise awareness on how the pandemic has affected this age-group.
Contestants are encouraged to go with the artistic medium of their choice. Some examples include a TikTok or YouTube video, painting, photography, drawing, animation, meme, song/rap, poetry, podcast or any other approach that allows youth to express their unique ideas. The contest opened to the public for submissions on September 10.
Contestants must be 16 to 25 years old and live or attend school anywhere in Arizona. All gender and racial/ethnic identities are encouraged to submit. Youth may submit as many pieces as they would like, but will only be compensated $10 for their first submission. Finalists will be chosen by public health experts. Community members will then choose 12 winners to each receive a $250 gift card prize. Submissions close on October 16.
“It’s been a tough year and a half for all of us, including youth and young adults. “It’s Our Turn” will show the strength and creativity of Arizona youth and young adults in keeping our communities safe by encouraging vaccines and masks, and raise awareness of the challenges youth and young adults continue to face,” said Linnea Evans, assistant professor at NAU’s Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) and Department of Health Sciences. “Mask mandates have been lifted, large events are happening, and schools are returning to in-person learning — but we know it’s not over yet. Engaging youth in the pandemic response is critical as we continue to see new COVID-19 variants and spikes in cases and deaths.”
The fall 2021 “I Got the Shot” social media campaign is encouraging and promoting vaccinated Jacks to post their “I Got the Shot” selfies to the CHER Instagram and Facebook pages. Through #CHERtheHealth and #IGottheShot, CHER is encouraging students, clubs, and NAU departments to participate. It’s as easy as downloading stickers from the CHER website, making a story or post and including the hashtags.
Without an accurate headcount of vaccinated students in Arizona universities, it is important now more than ever to encourage as many college students as possible to get vaccinated. In the first week of September, Coconino County reported a 9.7% positivity increase in COVID-19 cases in youth under 20 years old.
For more information, visit the I Got the Shot campaign page or email Omar Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the It’s Our Turn contest, visit the contest page or contact Linnea Evans at Linnea.Evans@nau.edu.