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Y-LIT Helping to Brighten the Day Amidst COVID-19

By Ursula V. Battle | 5/15/2020, 7:44 a.m.
Y-LIT Helping to Brighten the Day Amidst COVID-19
Sinai Hospital’s essential workers recently received Chick-fil-A lunches. The lunches were delivered by Youth Leaders In Training (Y-LIT), and marked the launch of its Gratitude Campaign for Essential Workers. L-r: Carmen Harris, 17, Sinai Hospital Trauma Program Manager James Gannon, and Cari Harris. Photos: Ursula V. Battle

Sinai Hospital Trauma program manager, James Gannon was among the employees who recently stepped outside the facility to “pick-up’” their Chick-fil-A lunch, which was being “specially delivered.” However, those bringing the lunches to the hospital weren’t food delivery workers.

These volunteers were members of Youth Leaders In Training (Y-LIT), an organization comprised of middle through high school youth, and young adults, who focus on community service, and mentorship.

“They are absolutely amazing,” said Gannon referring to the group. “They don’t realize how big a part they are playing by feeding us. To have this is immensely helpful.”

Y-LIT partnered with Chick-Fil-A’s Baltimore Inner Harbor location to donate 25 meals. According to organizers, lunch included Chick-fil-A sandwiches, salad, and cookies. Y-LIT added fruit, potato salad, chips and water to the meal.

Carmen Harris, 17, organized the event.

Courtesy Photo

Carmen Harris, 17, organized the event.

“There is no one that does not like Chick-fil-A,” said Gannon with a smile as he stood in front of the hospital. “ It’s nice to get away from the walls, get fresh air, and to see these young men and women who are actively out here. It raises your spirit.”

Y-LIT delivered the lunches to Gannon and other essential employees on Friday, May 8, 2020, in front of the hospital. Carmen Harris, 17, organized the event, which marked the launch of its Gratitude Campaign for Essential Workers.

“Today, we just came and delivered food and a special thanks to workers at Sinai,” said Carmen. “We wanted to show our graduate to those risking their lives day in and day out. We just wanted to thank them. They are real superheroes saving our lives.”

The Gratitude Campaign aims to show appreciation for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, while encouraging other youth and young adults to do the same.

“As a society, it’s a wake-up call,” said Carmen. “Some are self-indulged, and don’t think about what people don’t and do have. It’s an encouragement for youth. It helps us think about others as we go along with our daily lives.”

Carmen attends Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland and will be entering her senior year.

“I feel really good,” she said. “I have been manifesting this since 2016. I wanted to give back to the community to someone risking their life for me. It’s great to be here today and see them face-to-face. I feel so grateful to be out here today standing in front of Sinai.”

Founded in 2017, Y-LIT is a 501c3 private nonprofit organization with chapters in Maryland and Washington D.C. The group has recently expanded to Ohio, California and Hawaii.

Carmen said as part of the Gratitude Campaign, they have also made, donated and delivered masks to postal workers. They also gave the postal workers Krispy Kreme donuts. The group also posts information on social media about essential workers once a day.

“I would not be able to do this without my team,” she said. “I thank my mom, sisters, aunts, and uncles.”

LaTara Harris is Carmen’s mother. Harris said that while they received donations from Chick-fil-A, and two restaurants will soon be supporting their efforts, much of the expenses are out-of-pocket.

“The reason for this is that we decided there is such a need,” said Harris. “I want to thank Chick-fil-A and the trauma team here at Sinai for showing up everyday. We want to support in any way we can. I hope we inspire others to do similar things in the community. We can always do something to help. We thank those on the front lines.”

Harris’ daughter Cari Harris, who is Carmen’s older sister also helped.

“I feel honored,” said the 23-year-old. “Right now, it’s easy to fall into being relaxed. It means the world to me to do this. It shows me the difference we can make.

“The funnest part was writing the press release for the event. I enjoyed planning that aspect of business and understanding the role the media plays in business. I learned a lot. I want to be in business, maybe as a strategic planner. But after writing the press release, now I am thinking about Communications.”

For more information or to support Y-LIT, visit www.ylit.org.