Touching stories of determination and integrity were submitted
to our Community Contribution Scholarship from high school students nationwide!
Ella forged her own path to advocacy after George Floyd’s murder and a classmate’s racist social media post. She felt a need to confront her seemingly tolerant community on the underlying prejudices and discrimination that were running rampant. She created blacklives2020.weebly.com. Ella spent many hours each day in the summer of 2020 building and adding to the website creating a conglomeration of statistics, photos, articles, videos, social media posts, educational resources and ways to take action.
Being from a mixed race family and seeing how these prejudice affects members of her community, Ella created a section about learning the concepts related to Black Lives Matter, which delves deeper into white privilege, police brutality, and other themes. She addressed the local NAACP chapter, key players in the local education community and advocates for the inclusion of marginalized narratives in the curriculum. Also proposing reforms to the Board of Education for the development of a culturally responsive curriculum.
Ella cherishes her leadership experience that arose from the facilitation of a virtual forum for local student activists (learn more at oaklandmillsonline.com/socialactivism)
She states, “I have come to terms with my outsider status in both the white and African American communities, while also accepting that just because my narrative is different, it is still valid”.
Jade’s advocacy for drug prevention was stirred from seeing the negative toll addiction had on a family member. Her impressive work with the school district and having the opportunity to address a youth conference, lead to her educating hundreds of thousands of people in drug prevention and guided them to sign a drug free pledge. As a part of the Ohio Youth Led Prevention Network she used this platform to lobby for Tobacco 21 that was signed into law on 7/18/20. During the quarantine, she hosted an online rally (www.JadeEilers.com) and was invited to speak twice at the United Nations. She’s the national presenter with the Steered Straight program and has reached 7 million people and with that team.
Jade says the messages and feedbacks she has been getting, made her realize that what she’s doing is greater than drug prevention,” I’m also teaching kids like me that your voice matters, you can do anything and you don’t have to be a victim to your circumstances”.
Knowing how costly and unattractive “port shirts” for cancer patient can be from her own grandmother’s experience with cancer, Rachel decided that she would do something to alleviate that expense from patients and their families. To raise money for this undertaking, Rachel, with help from her mom went on a bottle collection drive. After securing $700 in bottle sales and donations they were able to get started.
With her mother being an oncology nurse, her grandmother’s sewing skills and the help of a friend Rachel secured her “dream team” and set to work. Overcoming many challenges, Rachel proudly presented the first batch of 43 Port Shirts to Maine Children’s Cancer Institute. Her goal is to continue this project throughout the summer and aims to deliver 150 shirts. “I hope to help many more in the future. I know that I will never be a seamstress, but I will become a nurse or a doctor to help as many people as possible”.