St. Louis Park High School Group Offers Contest to Encourage Vaccinations | Saint-Louis Park


Campaign techniques helped inspire a group of students at St. Louis Park High School to take an interest in convincing their peers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

A graduate, Gabe Kaplan worked as a campaign manager for a St. Louis Park City Council race and legislative race, and interned with a political party. As a campaign, he and his senior colleague Tamar Gewirtz decided to encourage other students to reach out to their friends, family and social media followers to get them to sign up for vaccinations.

“Instead of the goal being to try to get people to the polls, the goal is to get people to have their pictures taken and help them get to dates,” Kaplan said.

He got the idea after helping his father find a date when they were scarce.

Kaplan thought, “Why not combine that with what I did in the fall for the political campaigns and make it sort of a vaccination project?” “

In addition to helping volunteers connect people to resources, the organizers of the effort, at a club called ACT, used a bingo board to engage volunteers in reaching a variety of people. Volunteers can earn points for talking to an ex, crush, or teacher about vaccinations, with the highest number of points – 100 – being reserved for convincing someone opposed to vaccinations to change their mind and back down. register for a vaccine. The volunteer with the most points will win a $ 50 Target gift card.

Participants also earn points for registering new volunteers. About 50 students have agreed to participate, of which 30 to 35 are actively engaged, according to Kaplan. Most are at St. Louis Park High School, with a few recent students and volunteers from other schools like Hopkins and Wayzata.

Semona Robel, a junior at St. Louis Park High School who plans to take over the effort after graduates leave, said, “I have seen how COVID has affected me and my peers, and I kind of came to the conclusion that we should do whatever we can to make sure this is all over soon. Helping others get vaccinated was that step for me. “

Volunteers reached out to hundreds of people via text, social media and in person. While most had already received the vaccine or made an appointment, Kaplan and Robel estimated that the effort had prompted dozens of people to sign up.

“It was really reassuring to know how many people have already had it,” Kaplan noted.

Others say they intended to make an appointment and host the recall while others are still hesitant, Robel said. Volunteers then approach them as friends, present evidence of vaccine safety, and encourage them to speak to their doctor if they continue to have concerns.

Volunteers encourage students and community members to register for vaccinations at the state’s Mall of America site or at a local clinic or pharmacy. Volunteers seek to make sure the people they approach follow along, helping them through the online dating process if necessary.

Kaplan was encouraged by the normalcy that began to emerge for people who were vaccinated.

“It was really nice to be able to see people again, really nice to be able to feel safe going out and seeing friends and family, and I just want to be able to help connect other people to that kind of thing. ‘experience and help people move away from the pandemic as much as we can, “Kaplan said.” Hopefully more people can get vaccinated so that we can achieve herd immunity, or at least approach it. ”

While the group plans to total points soon, Kaplan said he expects the effort to continue into the summer.

He said he will attend Carleton College, which will require students to be vaccinated, making masks unnecessary in the school environment this fall.

“I look forward to having a more normal experience than last year,” said Kaplan, who noted that some teachers have cut back on material because students still only attend in-person classes four days a week in the home stretch of the year. “It’s certainly not a normal year. I think there are so many people who missed out, and obviously the biggest problem is the people who actually get COVID and have serious issues with it. It hasn’t been a really good year for anyone.

For people who want to start their own campaign to encourage their friends or classmates to get vaccinated, Kaplan suggests choosing a few pharmacies, health care providers, or stores nearby that have vaccines to recommend.

“I think that helps make it kind of a game, like with points, and you can have fun with that,” Kaplan said.

Robel said she intends to implement the strategies she learned from Kaplan and Gewirtz when she leads the club’s efforts in the future.

Reflecting on the pandemic, Robel said, “It has been weird being a teenager during this time just because I feel like I’m missing out on so much that a lot of others may have gone through – or literally all of them. world has been able to experience it. It feels a little weird to be in your own bubble and to have it for so long. Long story short, I just want this to be over so I can be a kid again. “

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