Mountain View Online
In the era of a global pandemic, it’s easy to feel powerless, especially if you’re just a high schooler. Often, it can seem as though there is very little we can do.
But that’s not what a group of five high schoolers thought. Los Altos juniors Angelina Lue, Alicia Yim and Marie Godderis (along with freshman Sheryl Chen from Menlo-Atherton High School and junior Paulina Harding from Bishop O’Dowd High School) founded Fighting for Heroes. They are fundraising for medical equipment for local hospitals: Santa Clara Valley Medical Foundation, Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Center and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Angelina began this project after she found out that her friend’s mother, a doctor, was giving COVID-19 tests without wearing a mask. All girls share the belief that healthcare workers have the right to safe working conditions, free of known health and safety hazards.
The five have a goal of $10,000 and the fundraiser began on Friday, March 22. In the first six days, they raised over $4,000 on GoFundMe and bought over 2,000 masks. By Thursday, April 16, they had fundraised over $10,000 and bought 10,400 masks, distributing them to more than eleven Bay Area hospitals.
“I hate to admit it, but initially I was like, it’s probably not that big of a deal, right?” Alicia said. “But as it started getting worse, I started to think that it was frustrating that there was so little we could do. We actually had to send my grandparents back to Taiwan because of safety concerns. It’s everywhere, you can’t escape it right now.”
As teenagers, Angelina and Alicia both believe they have an advantage over adults in their mentalities: they’re more open minded to future changes.
I think a lot of adults can have their own set-in-stone ways of doing things,” Angelina said. “As teens we are more likely to think on our feet and try to come up with [new things]. We mature just by seeing the world on its knees [thanks] to a little virus you can’t even see with your eyes.”
Alicia, however, had another perspective on how teenagers have matured.
“The virus is really eye-opening because ideally, everyone would come together like one of those movies, but you know that in reality, people are selfish,” Alicia said. “You would expect that when people are dying, others would try to help.”
But what they did discover is that working together really did make a difference in what they have done, and they have truly made an impact in nine days.
What has likely made a large difference is their promotion on Instagram, using their stories to attract people’s attention and draw them to their GoFundMe.
“We raised over $1,000 in the first 24 hours,” Angelina said. “We don’t have to be lawmakers, CEOs or even the president to do anything. We can literally be students who just use their phones and rally for a cause. We can still help the community.”
The massive amount of money they are raising seems unlikely without their unification, due to their different schools and overall communities.
“I’m used to working with one other person, but this is really cool with people from all over the Bay Area,” Alicia said. “It made me realize that we can really make a difference.”
Note: Marie Godderis is the Business Manager for The Talon.
This story was originally published on The Talon on April 2, 2020.