Frontline Strong started as a part of my Social Entrepreneurship course at New York University. In March, after the NYU community was sent home to go remote due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, my professor Michael Pollack had scraped the rest of the course and pivoted to task us with the challenge of combating COVID-19 in some way. He gave us freedom to explore creative solutions in the form of an online platform.
As the nephew of a healthcare worker who gets up everyday and puts herself at risk of COVID-19, I knew I wanted to build a platform that supported healthcare workers across the country on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.
At first, I wasn't sure how I could help, but after reading up on positive well-being, happiness, engagement, and meaning, I soon realized that even a few words of encouragement could go a long way. After reading numerous studies and articles chronicling heightened levels of depression and anxiety felt by healthcare workers, I came up with Frontline Strong.
What it does
Frontline Strong sources messages of positivity from people at home and converts them to physical cards to be sent to hospitals and healthcare workers fighting COVID-19 on the frontlines!
How I built it
I had initially started on Wix, but my developer friend Will had come on board and helped build the current version on Webflow.
Challenges I ran into
After garnering over 200 initial messages I had initially been handwriting and sending the letters in the mail myself, but soon realized this was both expensive and time consuming. As a result I reached out to Scribeless, a handwritten notes company to help out and ever since we've been tackling this initiative together!
As a business (non-technical) student, I had no idea how to create a website or even put this idea together! However, with a whole lot of determination and my friend Will's help, I was able to help build the current platform on Webflow!
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Frontline Strong has already received $100 from company donations and partnered with a handwritten notes company Scribeless to bolster production as well as received $250 from Venture Philanthropist and NYU Stern Social Entrepreneurship Professor Michael Pollack in funding.
I've also met so many incredible people and am having conversations with developers, designers, businesspeople, and mentors as a part of this hackathon about pushing this initiative forward!
What I learned
I've learned, and am continuing to learn, so much from this project. I've seen how willing people are to spread messages of positivity and contribute to a good cause, but are more likely to do so if you make it easy for them. Convenience and costs are two factors that drive consumer behavior, and being able to play on those two factors has contributed to the success of the platform. Also, being able to adapt and iterate based on data from users is a massive key to being able to keep improving the platform for the future.
What's next for Frontline Strong
After polishing the online platform, I plan to push out Frontline Strong by expanding to more schools and universities, online groups, businesses and more that are willing to contribute and push this initiative forward by sending it out to their respective networks and donating.
I also want to reach out to the media and attempt to promote this project in an effort to garner a wider audience and more sources positivity to be sent to healthcare workers. I also hope to garner more donations to fund all the letters going out and keep pushing positivity!