Veronica Bolivar, 25

Veronica Bolivar is a 25-year-old teacher in Brooklyn that is finding new ways to keep her students engaged.

According to its website, Brooklyn Robot Foundry is a company that offers weekend classes to children around the ages of six through 10 during the school year as well as weekday classes in the summer. 

“It introduces them to a lot of engineering techniques and STEM-related topics,” said Bolivar. 

She said the company has contracts with a handful of schools but work out of their own facilities in New York. 

Like many other schools, the company was forced to readjust their curriculum and transition to online learning. They changed the website model within a week to get in sync with quarantine guidelines. 

Along with mailing kits out to the kids, teachers are using Zoom to guide their students on what they’re doing and how to build the projects.

“We’ve managed to be able to keep it running, it’s actually been really interesting,” said Bolivar.  

Despite still having a job during a time of soaring unemployment rates, she admits living in New York during the pandemic has not been an easy.

“We all live in really small spaces,” she said. “It’s hard because a lot of people still really need to go out just to be able to breathe a little bit.”

According to Bolivar, she still sees people outside, mainly at parks, although it’s not nearly the same amount as before the pandemic. 

“There’s not a lot of people taking public transportation now,” she said. “I myself haven’t gone on the train in over a month and a half now.”

“The whole city just operates and strives on nightlife. . . I think most people move here to meet people,” she added. “for that to be taken away, it has really affected the city.”  

Bolivar hasn’t had the opportunity to leave the house much this week due to poor weather. “My basement keeps flooding,” she said. 

A small park next to her house remains open and she often visits to get some fresh air.

“It would be very detrimental to a lot of people’s mental health if they closed the parks,” she said.

Besides staying home as much as she possibly can, Bolivar makes sure to wipe down any packages that she receives. Anytime she goes outside she wears a mask. 

“It seems ridiculous but it’s so real,” said Bolivar. “people are dying by the thousands so it’s just what we have to do to stay safe, at the very least.”

Veronica Bolivar ‘s students on Zoom. (Courtesy Bolivar)

Layra Gonzalez is an FIU alumni in Journalism. She enjoys creating multimedia elements and using her photography for storytelling. After graduating from FIU, she will go on to receive her Master's degree in Speech pathology.