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21 Ways Kansas Beats the virus

Looking to do more to slow the spread of COVID-19 in your community? You’re not alone.

In late 2020, the Kansas Leadership Center, in partnership with the State of Kansas, launched “Kansas Beats the Virus,” a grassroots community mobilization initiative to help fight the pandemic in Kansas. Over a five-week period, Kansans from across the state participated in more than 800 virtual meetings to develop action plans for how they could beat the virus right in their own backyards.

Below are 21 simple, easy-to-implement ideas from these meetings that we hope will inspire you to rally friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues to take action in your own community.

21 Ways You Can Help Beat the Virus in 2021

1. Assemble gift bags for at-risk families and health care workers

To assist those living with high-risk individuals, or who are at high-risk themselves, The Boys & Girls Club of Manhattan created a plan to assemble gift bags containing snacks, bottled water, handwritten notes and sanitation products for at-risk families and health care workers.

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2. Create yard signs to help reduce covid fatigue and skepticism about the vaccine

To address the problem of COVID fatigue and skepticism about the vaccine, Family Life Sunday School at East Heights United Methodist Church in Wichita developed a plan to create and post yard signs that encourage residents to get the vaccine and continue to wear a mask in public.

3. Create a heated outdoor space where young people can safely socialize

The 4:10 Irish Den Youth Facility in Chapman developed a plan to create a heated outdoor space where young people can convene to socialize or study while remaining in compliance with social distancing requirements.

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4. Organize an online trivia night

To address the mental health strains of isolation, child care and home schooling, Wichita’s Women in Tech developed a plan to host Zoom social hours for colleagues with individual themes such as trivia, hobbies and other special interests.

5. Encourage friends who have tested positive for COVID-19 to share their stories

To help share the impact of COVID-19 with those in the community, the K-State Extension-Barber County developed a plan to identify people who had tested positive and get them to share their story publicly.

6. Promote outdoor spaces where people can exercise and maintain good mental health

In hopes of addressing the problem of mental and physical health challenges during COVID, the Waconda Cultural Association developed a plan to educate residents of Mitchell and Osborne counties on the benefits of utilizing the outdoor spaces at Glen Elder State Park.

7. Encourage families to stay home with gift certificates for food and board games

To encourage families to stay home during the pandemic, the Emporia Public Library developed a plan to create Family Grab and Go Kits consisting of COVID information sheets, coupons for food and entertainment, board games and a deck of cards.

8. Create a “blessings box” stocked with basic food and hygiene items

Trinity Presbyterian Church in Topeka created a plan to increase awareness around the church’s “blessing box” which is stocked with food, hygiene items and PPE equipment for families suffering financial hardship.

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9. Organize a virtual musical performance

To address the unemployment of musicians and the fact that people not complying with safety guidelines will prolong a hiatus in public performances, Wichita Festivals developed a plan to host a COVID-themed virtual musical performance competition to support and publicize local musicians, lift the spirits of Wichita residents and encourage safe practices.

10. Hold a virtual 5K

To raise awareness of school-aged children in need of healthy meals during the pandemic, Leadership Dickinson County developed a plan to hold a 5K run to inform their community of local services available to help.

11. Provide ride share vouchers for those in need of transportation

To increase access to care and reduce the fear of COVID-19 contraction, the KUMC Epilepsy Clinic in Kansas City developed a plan to provide 60 epilepsy patients with $50 roundtrip vouchers to get to and from appointments.

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12. Host an online movie night for kids

To address the problem of a lack of community service and social opportunities for young people, the Ellis County 4-H Ambassadors developed a plan to host an online movie night during which youth would be encouraged to write thank-you notes to local health care workers.

13. Become a pen pal with a senior citizen

In hopes of addressing the problem of lack of connectivity and isolation due to social distancing, Scout Troop #584 in Andover developed a plan to provide connection opportunities (write letters, conduct virtual visits, etc.) between scouts and elderly residents of local long-term care facilities.

14. Create an activity guide of safe things people can do to prevent feeling isolated

To help prevent social isolation and community inactivity, the Bluestocking and Hitchhikers of Lawrence created a plan to launch a winter season COVID resource and activity guide to distribute throughout the city.

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15. Compile activity bags for elementary-aged children

Because children within the urban core of Kansas City lack access to information and resources necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, NBC Community Development Corporation developed a plan to create care packages for distribution in a four-block area surrounding Mt. Carmel Church in the heart of Kansas City.

16. Coordinate a toy drive for families facing financial hardships

The Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, in collaboration with the Greater Pentecostal Church of God in Wichita, developed a plan to host a toy drive in support of families who have suffered financial hardship during the pandemic.

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17. Lead an online, family friendly activity

The Pittsburg Young Professionals developed a plan to hold a COVID-themed online event consisting of a family-friendly activity like painting, cooking or playing games to overcome social isolation and decreased community connection.

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18. Reward others you see wearing a mask or social distancing

In hopes of encouraging healthy behaviors and increasing compliance with mask-wearing, Leadership Ellsworth County alumni developed a plan to hand out $20 in chamber bucks to random people seen wearing masks.

19. Hold a mask decorating competition

To address a lack of awareness of the preventative importance of and political resistance to wearing a mask, Leaders in Action based in Wichita developed a plan to organize a “most creative mask” competition held on social media. Winners of the competition will be awarded cash prizes.

20. Tap into your talents and offer free lessons online

To encourage residents of Salina to engage in healthy physical and socio-emotional behaviors, Bennington Wellness and the Kansas Public Media Center, Inc., developed a plan to offer virtual yoga sessions.

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21. Encourage others to take selfies in their favorite mask

To ensure that young people understand the importance of wearing a mask to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, Rise Up for Youth in Wichita developed a plan to hold a social media contest encouraging young people to take selfies while wearing a mask to show that wearing a mask is “cool,” not just something you’re forced to do.

To learn more about our Beat the Virus project, visit our page.

Tell Us What You’re Doing

Try one of these ideas, or something similar, in your community. We want to hear about it.

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