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Viral Voices: Helping Leon County children through the pandemic

Posted at 11:13 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 23:13:47-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The county and the LeRoy Collins Public Library are launching a new campaign this week helping kids all around Leon County share how COVID-19 has impacted their lives.

"We're hoping to give them a productive way to process what they're going through," said Michelle Ray, the Learning and Workforce manager at LeRoy Collins Library.

It's called Viral Voices, and the goal is hearing what young people in Leon County have to say.

"Be it written work spoken word, visual art, video, and so on," Ray said.

The campaign is aimed at grades K through 12.

With the pandemic's stress, local pediatric therapist Courtney Foust says this outlet can help children cope.

"It's a great creative outlet to get out some words and express emotions that there might not be words for," said Foust.

Foust often recommends the idea to her young clients trying to deal with unusual circumstances.

"We've had actually a few of our kids journal about it," Foust said. "We had them talk about like, 'Hey, what did you do during the pandemic, who were you at home with, how did you spend your time?'"

Ray says the objective is for kids to share exactly how they feel.

"Be it frustrated, optimistic, hopeful, angry, any range of emotions we expect to see," said Ray.

Those are the impacts Ray says cannot be overlooked.

"When you're of a certain age everything is so raw and so fresh that they are really having a much more extreme experience during this pandemic," Ray said.

All submissions will be posted online for others to see. Once the pandemic is behind us, they will go to the state archives to document the impact the pandemic had on youth.

The county and library are partnering with Leon County Schools on this campaign.