Empowerment from all angles

Melissa Donovan, Assistant Editor

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Embarrassment, isolated, ashamed. These are all feelings that could be from someone who feels they are “different” from those around them and are in need of a sense of support.
Clubs like Gay Straight Alliance and Girl Up have been able to provide comfort and a voice for individuals looking for a place that understands their ideas and beliefs.
The Gay Straight Alliance hosted a quilt-making activity during Alli Week for students to connect with the club and learn more about the LBGTQ community, thus teaching others at school more about their society.
Through meetings, posting information and videos on their website, and participating in Pride activities, they have done a terrific job at not only promoting themselves but also advocating for acceptance of sexuality, race and gender. Closing out the first year of this club at school, it has proven to be a place where students can feel accepted and discuss issues that they as individuals and the LGBTQ community face.
According to GSA Network, the students in the club are trained to advocate for equal social policies in the school by encouraging peers and teachers to stand up and stop bullying, which is something that should been seen more often.
Another club who advocates for students is Girl Up; they have focused on empowering girls worldwide, especially in less developed countries such as Ethiopia and Liberia. For club members, a focal point is to ensure that girls will receive the education they deserve, because they see that as the start to a successful future. The organization has been working to ensure that all girls start with a strong education.
It is refreshing to see how members have played a part in helping girls in need by assisting those in abuse shelters, where students can see issues affecting and impacting women and how gender inequality only makes it more difficult for women in certain situations. Experiences like these can act as a catalyst for girl to continue working towards gender equality and justice.
They have been exceptional at letting local girls take up the challenge of breaking down the gender inequality barrier and the group will only continue growing, as this is also the first chapter for them at this school. A goal that they have is to have some male members join, in order to showcase that they could understand the circumstances that girls face.
These are just a couple of the clubs and organizations among others like JOI club, Diabetes club and PALS at school that focus on worldwide issues. Seeing young people make a difference little by little has been eye opening and inspiring. These clubs represent a positive outlook for a world that could easily be cruel especially to these somewhat unrepresented groups. It has given light to situations and provided a supportive outlet for all students. Through the work of groups like these, it has become more natural for people at school to quit being ashamed or embarrassed of who they are and their beliefs. Even though our school is not perfect at making people feel accepted-sadly that is something that is inevitable-it has done a good job.

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