The below reflection was written by Lucy Levin, who’s serving as a Commonwealth Corps Youth Program Associate for Teens in Print during the 2020-21 school year. We’re so grateful to Lucy for the enthusiasm and journalism know-how she has brought to the team this year.

lucy levin headshot

We’re coming up on nearly a year in the throws of COVID-19, and six complete months of my service year with WriteBoston. As a class of 2020 graduate, I had no idea how my first year out of school would play out during a global pandemic. That said, I knew that I wanted to spend time connecting with my community in a way that aligned with my interests — creative writing and art. That led me to apply to serve as a Commonwealth Corps Youth Program Associate at Teens in Print, and I think it’s the best place I could’ve landed.

As a poet and creative nonfiction writer, workshop environments have always been my favorites.  Bringing a piece of your work — your emotions, your perspectives, your identities — to a room of near-strangers for critique requires a special level of trust and compassion. One thing I love about Teens in Print is that it takes high school students seriously as artists and thinkers who deserve that space to explore and express themselves. 

Over the past six months, I’ve been so impressed and in awe of each staff writer’s ability to make it through a whole day of Zoom school, only to, on top of that, come to TiP ready to constructively critique and applaud their peers’ work. I’ve also seen real connections form in virtual spaces — from coordinated penguin Discord profile pictures to peer review revelations. It’s incredible to me that students who have never met in real life can share, accept, and appreciate everyone’s stories in the virtual newsroom.

One thing I love about Teens in Print is that it takes high school students seriously as artists and thinkers.

I’ve been lucky enough to forge those virtual relationships as a Youth Program Associate at WriteBoston, too! Everyone working at WriteBoston, and all of my students, have seen the Lady Gaga poster hanging above the dresser behind my desk. My coworkers have seen the embroidery pieces I started crafting as a quarantine hobby. I’ve met staff members’ cats, dogs, and kids via Google Meet. We’re all bringing ourselves to the table (granted, different tables, in different houses) every day, hearing each other out when we’re not our best, and growing together, even when the rest of life is paused. 

Serving from home is not rosy. Sometimes my WiFi hates me. Today a screw fell out of my desk chair, and I’m not sure what it rolled under in my room. But I feel lucky to be here and to have the opportunity to share this time with understanding people who want to help me through it, both professionally and emotionally. That trickles down from me to the students I work with, too. I’ve learned so much about resilience from students who are navigating a very bumpy educational system right now. There’s always a moment to seize if people around you are willing to do it with you, and it’s a joy to come along for the ride with them.