“We Are Westchester” - Fox Lane High School Student Creates Virtual Community to Bring Westchester Together Around the One-Year Anniversary of the Pandemic
Ella Bahari, a junior at Fox Lane High School, is creating a virtual community within Westchester where she is inviting people to share their experiences during this time of social distancing to come together in a visual way.
On her social media pages, Ella has gotten posts that say: “We Are Strong Together”, “We Are Learning” and “We are Winners”, just to name a few. Ella’s idea is to help people express how they have been keeping their spirits up during this past year and to remain hopeful that we will emerge from this in the not too distant future.
Ella says, “The idea is to create awareness and to solidify a sense of community to express how COVID-19 has affected life in Westchester. With this project, my goal is to create a platform to help inspire and support one another, and to remind us that as a community, we will make it through this challenging time. We are all looking forward to when life returns back to normal, but we want to be here now to support one another.”
In addition to creating virtual community, Ella has created a fundraiser on GoFundMe to benefit the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry which has been significantly challenged during this past year as the issue of food insecurity has affected many families in Westchester. Ella says, “I didn’t just want to create a virtual community without giving back to the most vulnerable in our area in a real, substantive way. As a community, we should feel the need to help out however we can.”
The Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that feeds our neighbors in need in Westchester. Before the pandemic, the food pantry served 300 families per week but, now due to COVID-19, 500 families per week rely on the donations from the food pantry.
When it’s safe again to be out in the community, Ella’s plan is to print out and display some of the photos in an area in Northern Westchester that will become a public art space where Westchester residents can congregate and remember the challenges that we all faced and overcame with each other's support during the pandemic.
As Ella says to all of her supporters, “Thank you for helping to create virtual community at a time when we need it most.”