Student Leaders Step Up to Address Community Needs During the Coronavirus

After learning about how mask shortages were contributing to the spread of the coronavirus, Austin, TX, high school senior Ibraheem Moosa got to work. He took out his 3D printer, modified a prototype that he found online and started printing masks. He is specifically focused on creating masks for portions of the population that generic models won’t fit, like children.

In addition, he’s been working on ways to provide laptops to students who may otherwise lack the technology needed for remote learning through Health Through Science, an organization he helps to run. “There’s a digital divide,” he said. “And with COVID, there’s a magnifying glass on the problem.”

Jonathan Mendez, who is also in 12th grade, started making fabric masks when the health and humanitarian crisis struck and is now in the process of manufacturing portable sinks as a way for homeless people wash their hands in his Fresno, CA community.

For Wellington, FL, 11th grader Katherine Oung, the best opportunity to make a difference came by way of words — using her personal experience with racism stemming from the coronavirus as a teachable moment. As a Chinese-American, she saw that the coronavirus was contributing to xenophobia at her school, an environment she had always known to be very inclusive. She worked with the New York Times on a video project sharing her experience and has also been covering news related to the health crisis as a lead writer for a youth-run news outlet called Balance the Ballot.

In addition to making an impact these three students share another connection: all are 2020 Bank of America Student Leaders®.

About the Bank of America Student Leaders program

For more than 15 years, Bank of America has identified standout, community-minded high school students and connected them to a paid summer nonprofit internship, and opportunities to develop further as young leaders.

In 2020, the program has been adapted to a virtual format, through which students gain perspective on the vital role that nonprofits play in advancing community health, the importance of public private partnerships to advance social change, and a focus on building financial acumen. They will engage in conversations focused on social justice, civil rights and how to build a more diverse and inclusive society and have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their personal finances through Better Money Habits®, Bank of America’s financial wellness and education platform. 

The Student Leaders program, which includes young people from a range of diverse backgrounds, reflects Bank of America’s commitment to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity.  Since 2015, Bank of America has invested $30 million to support more than 10,000 summer jobs for young people, including at-risk youth from low-income families in more than 90 communities.


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