Angela Osei-Ampadu ’21, co-founder of Shielding Our Defenders, uses her “grant money to expand SOD’s outreach.”

This summer 25 students were accepted in the CSGC grants program. These grants are funded due to the generous support of the Cost, Earle/Mendillo and Workman families, who established endowment funds to support the community and public service endeavors of future generations of Deerfield students. For more information on these grants please visit: https://deerfield.edu/csgc/grants.

I want to first start by thanking the CSGC and the generous donors who made my CSGC grant possible. As a co-founder of Shielding Our Defenders, I have used my grant money to expand SOD’s outreach.

In late March, Eric Wang ’21, Harry Niles ’21, Mark Chung ’21, and I created the student-led non-profit initiative called Shielding Our Defenders in order to raise money to purchase and donate masks to healthcare workers. We started with a small donation of 80 masks to my mom’s hospital in New York City which was hit especially hard by COVID-19. Since our first donation, we have raised over $37,000 and have donated over 15,000 masks with about 5,000 en route to healthcare workers. We have sent masks to over 20 hospitals and nursing homes nationwide.

My CSGC grant has also allowed our team to expand our outreach and to add new teams. With the rise in nation-wide protests, SOD created the Protest Safely Initiative to get masks to protesters around the country. We have also added a Southern Branch to get masks to healthcare workers in the south as cases continue to rise.

I was able to invest some of my grant money into the Protest Safely initiative, in which we’ve sent 500 masks to protesters in San Francisco, California, 900 to protesters in NYC, and 2,000 to the National Action Network for the August 28th March to Washington, D.C. For the protest in San Francisco, we partnered with Tiana Day and Mimi Zoila, the teen organizers of the historic Golden Gate Bridge BLM protest to distribute the masks. Aurelia Bolton ’22 a SOD team member of the West Coast Branch, worked closely with Tiana and Mimi to distribute these masks at the Supply Station of the Women in Solidarity for Justice and Equality March on June 12, 2020, in San Francisco. In addition, we partnered with JunionX NYC, a non-profit organization that uses old school buses to get PPE, food, and supplies to protesters all around NYC. I sent them 700 masks that they distributed to protesters on Tuesday, June 30th in NYC at the Protest to City Hall. I sent 200 masks to my older brother, Jesse, who was been frequently attending protests with his friends in Brooklyn and has been handing out masks to protesters. The 3rd protest we’ve been working on is the National Action Network Commitment March to Washington, D.C. on August 28th. I have been in direct communication with Dominique Sharpton, daughter of Al Sharpton, and organizer for NAN about providing NAN organized protests with masks. SOD is planning on sending 2,000 masks to NAN for the August 28th protest in Washington, D.C.

The Southern Branch is made up of seven Deerfield students who have been passionate about getting involved with SOD. We have been able to send 500 masks to Anne Brown’21 for Duke Hospital in North Carolina, 500 to Kaitlyn Kelly ’22 in Florida for a shelter in Delray Beach that works with abused women and children, and another 500 to Hunter Pulliam’ 22 for Grady Hospital in Atlanta, GA.

In creating new projects and expanding our reach to new places and organizations, SOD has been able to take on new team members. Currently, SOD consists of 35 members, 27 of them Deerfield students. If you are interested in joining the SOD team please reach out to our team or fill out the short application form on our website. What I feel is most special about SOD is that we are a network of students from all around the world, working together to help the communities we care about. I am proud to be part of a group that has inspired action among teens my age during unprecedented and difficult times.

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