Dozens of families were drawn to the YMCA in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood Thursday afternoon by music, games and food to celebrate the ending of the 18-month-long after-school camp.
It’s the type of community event that Molly Anderson tries to attend as a Teen Vaccine Ambassador.
“Just being a person who is vaccinated, or being a person who has the information, just being out in the community and being open about it is so much more impactful than you may think,” she said.
Anderson and 20 other select teenagers were hired through a program created earlier this year between Boston Medical Center and the local YMCA. Their mission: educate people about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We don't know what someone's going through or what they know, and it's always just keeping them informed and keeping it factual and nice,” said Anderson.
Twenty-four-year-old Oscar Lopez Jr. had been putting it off, until now.
"I just really wanted to get back to the norm,” he said.
Lopez had his doubts about the vaccine at first.
“Just seeing all the kids running around, they're able to have fun and play with their friends and honestly it's all about getting back out there being able to play with my friends, in a sense,” he said.
Lopez hopes his hesitant friends and family follow his lead. He was, however, the only person vaccinated at the event and the reason community organizers are keeping the vaccine and their ambassadors accessible.
“We're trying to get things back to normal and the only way to get back to normal is to try to protect yourself and protect your community members with this thing that may seem a little scary but it's a hurdle we all have to face,” said Anderson.
Although the after-school camp has ended and the summer is basically over, the Roxbury YMCA and the BMC will be looking for new events and more ways to get the jab in people’s arms, possibly even pushing for the booster shots.