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Mother-daughter duo use animation to help kids cope with COVID-19 fears

A 10-year-old uses her animation skills to help other kids manage some of their anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic.

EVERETT, Wash. — A mother-daughter duo's animation skills are helping kids cope with the coronavirus crisis. 

Ten-year-old Sydney Dilling is using her time at home to create cartoon videos to help other kids process what's going on in the world. Sydney's mom, Melissa, is a middle school teacher in the Everett School District. 

Melissa helps her students get creative while using the WonderGrove Storymaker software. It's an educational tool created by the Terry Thoren, the former CEO of the company that produced the cartoon Rugrats. 

“I happen to have it at my house and thought that maybe we could make this animation, some animations from home, just for kids to watch with their parents, just to kind of make some of their fears, a little less, make this whole process a little less fearful for them,” Melissa said. 

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Sydney's videos are helping her cope while distracting her from the unusual reality. Like other Washington kids and teachers, Sydney and Melissa are at staying at home, after in-person K-12 classes were canceled throughout the state in response to the novel coronavirus. The classrooms will be closed through the end of the school year.

Sydney is also using her videos to encourage kids to find ways to get involved, including reaching out to school officials to ask if they have any extra supplies they can send to local hospitals. 

The duo plan on creating more animated videos at home until they're back in the classroom. 

"Maybe if kids see through an animation that other kids are feeling the same way then they won't be so worried about what's going on right now," Melissa said. 

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