Youth and Young Adults Forum

COVID-19 has infected residents across our state and changed how we live, work, go to school, and socialize.  This virus is ruthless, but we are taking steps every day to contain its spread and stay healthy. 

Two of the fastest growing groups of Illinoisans to fall victim to the virus are our teens and young adults.  Remaining vigilant against an unseen enemy and altering behavior through masking, hand washing, and social distancing continue to challenge these demographic sectors, as shown by the statistics compiled daily.  Yet, we know these practices work!

We invite all young people to join the conversations live on Facebook and Twitter as Youth and Young Adults pose their COVID-19-related questions to the Illinois Department of Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike. You’ve seen her at press briefings providing State updates on the coronavirus. Now we invite you to pose your questions directly to her and help us understand how to more effectively address Coronavirus related concerns of Illinois’ Youths and Young Adults.

#YesUCan Forum Video:

Collaboration Partners:

Access Living

City Colleges of Chicago

Illinois State Board of Education

American Indian Assoc. of Illinois

Corazón Community Services 


American Indian Health Services of Chicago

Heartland Alliance

Midwest Asian Health Assoc.

Asian Health Coalition

Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement

Mikva Challenge


Illinois 4-H


Beyond Care Inc.

Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health

Physicians Pipeline Preparatory Program

Boys and Girls Club of Springfield

Illinois Dept, of Healthcare & Family Services

Puitak Youth Program

Chicago Foundation for Women

Illinois FFA


Chicago Urban League

Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton


To receive information on future Youth and Young Adult Forums email: YesUCan@illinois.gov

Mask Design and Video/Essay Competition

In an effort to engage teens and young adults, the Communications Strategy Workgroup of the COVID-19 Equity Team has developed a mask design contest.  The objective of the contest, which leverages creativity and personal style, is to help young people understand the importance of masking and the impact they can have on their peers when it comes to influencing behavior. 

The competition will require contestants to complete and submit an original artistic rendering of a face mask which they have designed, along with a 500-word written essay or 1-minute video. 

The contest will launch at the conclusion of the Youth and Young Adults Forum on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 and will end on Friday, October 30, 2020 at 5:00 pm.

#YesUCan Video PSA:

Rules and Instructions

The Illinois Department of Public Health is proud to invite all young people from across the state to submit their design for the 2020 Mask Design Competition. The theme of the contest is #YesUCan.

Winners will be selected in two age categories: contestants between the ages of 14-19 and those between the ages of 20-29. Individual or Group submissions are accepted under each category. First, Second, and Third Place Awards will be given for individual and group submissions under both categories.

The winning entries will be featured on the IDPH website and in various promotional and public service ads beginning in November 2020. All participants will receive Certificates of Recognition and be entered into a raffle to win participation prizes.

  1. Completed submissions will include a completed entry form, an original mask design using the template included in the official entry form, a 1-minute video OR a 500-word essay address one of the following topics:
    • “Why My Peers Should Take COVID-19 Seriously,” or
    • “How Would I Get My Peers to Practice Social Distancing and Wearing Face Coverings.”
  2. Only one entry per person or group. All entries become the property of IDPH upon submission.
  3. All entries must be received no later than Friday, October 30, 2020 at 5 p.m.
  4. All entries must be an original design by the contestant(s) and must adhere to the dimensions of the mask template included in the official entry form. Computer-aided drawings are accepted. Entries may be in any medium: oil, acrylic, watercolor, tempera, gouache, ink, pastel, crayon, or pencil.
  5. All entries must be submitted online with a good quality photo of the accompanying artwork. Entry forms and contest information are available at www.dph.illinois.gov/YesUCan
  6. Of the entries submitted, winners will be selected by a panel of independent judges.
  7. The winner will be announced in early-November and invited to receive their awards during a press conference with IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike, MD.
  8. Any questions can be directed to the IDPH Center for Minority Heath Services at YesUCan@Illinois.gov


1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes will be awarded in both age categories (14 – 19 and 20 – 29).

All entrants will receive Certificates of Recognition and entered into a prize drawing.

All entries will become the property of IDPH

Winners will be announced in early November and invited to receive their award during a press conferences with IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike, MD.