On May 17, 2020, amid the rainy weather, 10 teens (6th to 10th graders) from west metro organized and distributed more than 2000 free masks to essential workers. These masks were donated by local Chinese communities. The group calls themselves “Teens on the Go”. The rest of the article was written by one of the teens – Ai X.
Two months after Governor Walz’s stay-at-home-order was implemented, businesses across Minnesota reopened to the public. While I’m sure many people were ecstatic to hear that they would be allowed to leave their houses again, a couple of my friends and I were concerned. We knew that many local businesses didn’t have the resources to keep their employees and customers safe. After some thinking, my friend Kimberly contacted me with an answer to the dilemma: we could host a drive, where we would give away masks to local small business owners and essential workers. Soon, ten of us gathered and set out to organize this event. Our name was Wayzata Teens On the Go. Our mission was to help the people around us.
The ball started rolling and gaining momentum as the week passed by. We picked a date, time, and location: Sunday, May 17th, from 10 AM to 1 PM at Plymouth Grand 15 Movie Theater, which had graciously allowed us to use their building and parking lot as a base of operations. Around 2,200 masks were secured from donors within the Chinese American community, mainly Professor Wang and Mr. Zhao in Woodbury, then zipped into packs of 10, the plan being that each business owner would get 2 packs. We asked hundreds of small businesses in the Wayzata area if they needed masks through phone calls, emails, and text messages. We advertised all over the internet, on Instagram, Facebook, Nextdoor, Twitter, and Wechat. Ashley designed a logo and many different posters that not only featured Wayzata Teens On the Go, but also reminded people to take precautions to stay safe. Despite so many different things happening at once, all of it slowly began to come together. As the week went by, I looked more and more forward to Sunday morning.
On Saturday night, the stage was completely set. We had a quick last minute Zoom meeting to confirm our plans, then everybody headed off to get some rest before the big day. Before they went to sleep, my parents checked the weather app… and found the forecast for the next morning to have 100% rain. Since there was nothing we could do about it, we just went to sleep hoping for the best, knowing that the show had to go on.
We woke up not-so-bright and early the next morning to the sound of pouring rain. Once we got to the theater, a tent and various posters directing people where to go were set up. At 9:30, a couple of cars were already in line to get the masks, which was a promising sign. And so, the time ticked by as we smiled and distributed the masks. A local TV station, WCCO, came to interview us for their channel, which was very exciting. All in all, the execution was flawless, except for when it was not. I am not going to sugarcoat things. Being outside in the rain for three hours was mostly a cold, miserable mess, and I think that the rest of the people who participated would agree. At times, I was very jealous of the people driving by who were obviously warm and dry in their cars. However, I held my head up high and kept handing out the packages of masks.
On the way back home, as the cold started to wear off, I reflected on the happenings of that morning. I didn’t fully realize or appreciate it at the time, but many of the small business owners and essential
workers we donated to had expressed how grateful they were that we were doing this; many of them tried to donate money to our cause, which we politely declined. I found out later that we had given out over 2000 of our masks, which was a complete success by the books. We had a meeting that night, and everyone expressed how proud they were of each other, and of our accomplishments.
In the future, we all hope to host more of these mask drives. We hope that Wayzata Teens On the Go will further benefit and help the community around us. And even though we all had to stand in freezing rain for what seemed like forever, I can speak for all of us when I say that the sense of fulfillment that came with helping our local small business owners and essential workers made it all worth it.
Contact Wayzata Teens On the Go:
Facebook: Wayzata TeensontheGo
Twitter: Teens On The Go
Members of Wayzata Teens On the Go:
Wayzata Teens On the Go consists of ten Wayzata students ranging from 6th to 10th grade.
Evan H. – 6th
Hua X. – 7th
Jeffrey L. – 7th
Ashley Z. – 8th
Joy S. – 8th
Kimberly L. – 9th
Ai X. – 9th
Michelle C. – 9th
Sarah H. – 10th
Emily L. – 10th