Generations Family Health Center | Willimantic, Norwich, Putnam and Danielson CT

New song encourages young people to “Mask It Up”

Mask It Up Cover

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Getting the word out to the younger set

Generations uses 'Norm' to teach kids about COVID

CLAIRE GALVIN

CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER

WILLIMANTIC : Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many have heard theadvertisements that discuss living in the new "norm."

In the Willimantic area, there is a new norm ? as in a new cartoon canine named " Norm," who was created to help youngsters understand safety precautions during the coronavirus.

"Norm the COVID-19 Community Watchdog" hopes to help children develop and maintain healthy habits and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

The dog is a marketing effort done in partnership between the Generations Family Health Center and the Northeast District Department of Health.

Norm is geared to help children aged pre-K through the fifth grade.

"There is a natural level of apprehension some families, children and school staff feel about heading back to school," said Generations Director of Communications and Development for Generations Allison Heneghan in a release issued by Generations.

"Norm is intended to be a calming presence, positive role model and an educational tool."

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First grader Quinn Jones, 6, reads information about COVID-19 from 'Norm the COVID Watchdog'

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A character created by Willimantic- based Generations Health Care Center to teach children about the current pandemic.

Norm has his own website ? normthedog.org ? that offers children, parents and educators tools to reinforce behaviors that reduce the risk of COVID-19.

"If you're a mom and you're struggling with your 3-year-old who doesn't want to wear a mask, you can just say something like 'what do you think Norm would do?" said Generations Chief Executive Officer Arvind Shaw.

"Norm will come to the rescue and hopefully get you over the hump."

Kids can enjoy animations, coloring pages and can download a Norm " adoption" certificate when they successfully demonstrate their understanding of five simple strategies to fight coronavirus.

Norm will also be promoted through traditional and social media channels.

"We wanted to find an entertaining, engaging way to remind everyone to keep up the healthy habits they learned throughout the pandemic: wear a mask, keep your distance and wash your hands," NDDH Education and Communications Coordinator Linda Colangelo said in the release.

"We believe children of all ages will connect with Norm, the official ' maskot' of our prevention campaign."

Shaw said he hoped Norm can soon be brought into local schools.

The project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services under the CARES Act.

The cartoon appeals to younger children, while a music video recently released titled " Mask it Up" appeals to teenagers and young adults.

Both Norm and the "Mask it Up" music video were created in an effort to connect with young people about the importance of taking precautions against coronavirus.

*To learn more about " Norm the COVID- 19 Community Watchdog," visit www.normthedog.org*

*Follow Claire Galvin on Twitter - @CGalvinTC.*


Mask It Up

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Teens and young adults are told to 'Mask It Up'

CLAIRE GALVIN

CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER

WILLIMANTIC : A new music video encouraging teens to " Mask It Up" was recently filmed in Willimantic.

The song and music video is an effort of the Generations Family Health Center and the Northeast District Department of Health.

" Mask- wearing is one of the most important prevention strategies we currently have in reducing the risk of COVID-19, but it's also the most challenging behavior to convince people to adopt," said NDDH Education and Communications Coordinator Linda Colangelo in a release issued by Generations.

" We wanted to find a platform that would be appealing to teens and young adults ? and we found it in artist Zack Kindall and ' Mask It Up.'" Kindall is a 20- year- old, Connecticut- based recording artist and is a former student- athlete at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic.

The music video was filmed in Willimantic and features iconic landscapes like the Thread City Crossing bridge and Windham Town Hall.

The video encourages people to follow the main guidelines during the coronavirus, wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and hand-washing.

" I love being able to see people smile from my music, especially during these stressful times, and I want to have a positive impact on them," Kindall said in the release.

"I hope people like the song, but more importantly, I hope they take the message seriously and 'Mask It Up.'" He will add " Mask it Up" to his Europe and North Africa tour in 2021.

Generations Chief Executive Officer Arvind Shaw said he believed it was one of the best marketing efforts they've had.

" Having peer to peer communication, there's nothing like it," Shaw said. " Young folks sometimes tune out parents, but they're always listening to friends and paying attention."

The music video accompanies other marketing efforts by Generations and the NDDH, like " Norm COVID- 19 Watch Dog."

*The short music video can be seen at bit.ly/GenHealthMaskItUp.*

*Follow Claire Galvin on Twitter - @ CGalvinTC.*

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Cameraman Dan Fish films singer Zach Kindall during a recent music video shoot in Willimantic for the song 'Mask It Up.' Courtesy of Generations.

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