Social media can be a powerful tool in amplifying messages, including when it comes to social activism. Still, many teens like myself are eager to find ways to do more. Volunteer opportunities aren’t always apparent, and it can be hard for us to get our voices heard. I wanted to change that for myself and my peers, so I created the Social Justice Club at my high school in Apex, North Carolina.
My work began in fall 2019. I launched the club at school, signed up new members, and appointed club officers—and we began meeting. I made it a point to involve all members in as much of the club planning as possible, to ensure it was an inclusive space for everyone.
At club meetings, we learned about different ways we could make a difference in the world through social justice work. We participated in volunteer opportunities for a total of 18–24 hours per student during the school year. The first volunteer event was one of my favorites—and one of our most successful! We partnered with Student Veterans of America at a local community college to prepare care packages. We also cohosted a Black History Month event with our school’s Black Student Union in February, which had a great turnout.
Shortly after that, COVID-19 changed the school year and some of our club plans. We were able to adapt by meeting virtually and even finished out the year with an exciting project: the NAACP commissioned our club to create a video in which we shared our thoughts on social justice work and how teens can make a difference. It was exciting for our club members to have a national platform to put into practice everything we’d been working toward during the school year. The video even got some good media attention locally.
To support my project’s sustainability, I secured a teacher as our sponsor for the 2021–22 school year. When I graduated in 2021, I left a plan for the club so that my fellow members can keep the work going.
As the leader of the Social Justice Club, I learned I had influence. At the start of the year I wasn’t sure if anyone would participate, but my peers surprised me as more and more of them joined up. Honestly, anyone could have created this club, but it wouldn’t have been the same experience. I have my own style that inspired people to help build and be active in a safe space. I’m honored I was able to do this for (and with!) my friends and peers, and I’m proud to call it my Gold Award project.
Through the Luke Madrigal Indigenous Storytelling Nonprofit, Gold Award Girl Scout Sophia keeps her father’s spirit and her culture alive.
Grace founded Step By Step Tutoring Inc. to boost education equity and earn the Girl Scout Gold Award.