A local ninth-grader shares a simple message: "Just please wear a mask and please be safe. Even if it's not for you, but the people around you to ensure that they’re as safe and you are as safe as possible.”
Noelani Reynoso, a student at Franklin High School in Highland Park, is a proud member of a young team trying to do some good. They're trying to encourage people to wear face coverings in the wake of an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
They’ve made a series of public service announcements as part of a joint project with LA County and LAUSD. These are announcements, in which a group of millennials says things like, “Hey guys... the coronavirus is real. Protect yourself... protect others.”
This awareness campaign is the brainchild of another millennial, Judith Green. She works for LA County government and says, “I was sitting at home one day and I thought how can we create a message that will connect?”
She thought such messaging could be used all over social media and on billboards. One such billboard is in Fullerton. The teen on the billboard is Noelani Reynoso. She’s 14 and a 9th grader. Talking about being on that billboard she says, “I would have never thought that I would have been on a billboard and to see it on one. It was, like, unbelievable.”
Reynoso joined this program to make other young people and adults aware of the importance of wearing a face covering. She says, “I feel like people should wear masks because there have been studies that say it lowers the chance of getting the coronavirus.”
The campaign is called THE RISK IS REAL. The 9th grader is so passionate about her involvement in the program, she says she walks away from people who are not wearing masks. That, she says, is “because I just want to lower my chances of getting COVID-19 (and) because I have a family and it would be really sad for them to get it, especially for me to give it to them.”
Judith Green says the program has cost very little thanks to the generosity of the volunteers and the supportive help of the Los Angeles County government and the county’s photographer Mayra Vasquez.
Green says, “We needed to create an educational campaign that involved the younger generation. And, LA County has been committed to this (COVID-19) response since the beginning of the pandemic.” She adds, “... we needed a way to connect with the younger generation because COVID numbers were increasing in those age ranges.”
Green’s idea was to keep it real through peer-to-peer interaction, message spreading and influencing influencers. Green says, “So, we figured if we could get students and younger generations involved in sharing this important message and it would go far.”
Green says the initial campaign started in June with millennials and social media influencers who graduated in September. Now, as they include high school students like Noelani Reynoso, they're making their voices heard via a giant billboard.
Reynoso is proud of spreading a meaningful message.
She reminds us all, “Just please wear a mask and please be safe even if it’s not for you but the people around you to ensure that they’re as safe and you are as safe as possible”