SAN DIEGO — Sometimes a small act of kindness can lead to big things. In this Zevely Zone, I went to Rancho Penasquitos to see how a teenager and Instagram are connecting people all over the world.
Jessica Ong is a 14-year old sophomore at Westview High School. The pandemic got her thinking.
"It's given us a glimpse into the lives of seniors who maybe don't have family or patients who are always isolated or healthcare workers who are working day in and day out," said Jessica.
She started writing letters, many to strangers, and created a program on Instagram and called Cards 4 Kindness. We asked her to read a card to us.
"Thank you so much for everything you are doing right now. I want to let you know that the community recognizes all of the good work you have done so far," she read.
Never underestimate the power of Instagram. Jessica has recruited 260 letter writers who are now launching card clubs in 22 countries. "Right now we have 1,400 followers in the one month since we started so that's been really awesome," said Jessica.
The teenager couldn't believe her eyes the first time she connected online with her new friends.
"Over 130 people joined which is insane," said Jessica during a Zoom call.
"I am very very proud of her," said Jessica's mother Arsira.
She told us this all started when her daughter started writing letters to Thailand to her grandmother and her Aunt Peng who she shares a special bond with.
"I think it's because of my sister who has Down Syndrome," said Arsira.
Jessica also writes to a San Diego senior named Cedric who she now takes walks every Saturday.
"How old is he?" I asked.
Jessica told me, "I don't know if he wants me to say!"
Jessica's mother says even during a pandemic, her daughter's compassion has given her peace.
"If I pass away I know she will be in good hands, she will know how to choose right from wrong," said Arsira.
More than a thousand cards have been sent already, so if you're a senior or first responder, check your mailbox.
"Can you believe that this all happened?" I asked.
Jessica told me, "I really can't I still kind of think it's a dream but it just gives me faith that the youth of tomorrow wants to make a difference. I think everybody deserves to be cared for."
If you'd like to join Jessica's card writing campaign, visit her Instagram page.