Perhaps the hardest part of the quarantine is the feeling of isolation. Our smiles are hidden behind our masks and we are discouraged from hugging one another.

In an effort to close the gap of our separateness, local youth have embarked on an adventure to create hug bracelets to remind the wearers that they matter.

"I want to be able to help people know that they are loved and not alone," said Gabby Nupp, 18. "When you can't see your mom or grandpa and miss them a lot, that you can put on the bracelet and it's like they are giving you a hug."

Nupp and an anonymous 10-year-old began making the bracelets as a way to help support the youth prevention/intervention alcohol and drug program through Cornerstone Center for Counseling and Discipleship. Donations will provide scholarships to teens who cannot afford treatment and help sustain the counselors during this time of pandemic.

"Like all small business struggling financially during this quarantine, for them to think about us and help us out and to support our clients and others suffering... is absolutely amazing," said Leah Henry, program director for Cornerstone.

According to Henry, donations for the hug bracelets will also allow Cornerstone to help other local programs as well.

Said Henry, "We have been providing donations to the new Tehachapi Humanitarian Group, and brought them a ton a of groceries."

The bracelets can be purchased for a minimum donation of $2. They come in many colors to chose from, and can be customized to feature messages such as "love you, Nana" or "just breathe."

All donations are tax deductible, and can be made online at https://donorbox.org/hug-bracelets-for-at-risk-youth-1. Once the donation is made, respond to the email provided and include the recipient's name and address.