More big news. On April 17-19, 2015 the annual Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) was held around the world and right here in Sarasota. This is the largest service event in the world. Community Youth Development (CYD) is the local sponsoring agency for this event, receiving and judging many worthy and impressive service projects from applicants who are making positive changes in their community.
I entered my EMPOWER U pledge drive project, which got over 200 students throughout Sarasota to take the pledge at empowerusrq.com and take a stand against sexual assault. I was so happy and surprised that I won. I plan to enter again next year. This is such a great opportunity for kids like me to be able to give back to our community. And, my school gets to keep the trophy for one year!
I have been working really hard to form a new program supported by CYD that is set to launch on April 13, 2015 throughout Sarasota County. I am so excited! EMPOWERU is an idea that started in my mom’s car. She had National Public Radio on in the background; they were doing a story on sexual assault. I was shocked to hear the statistic that 1 out of every 5 girls on a college campus will be a victim of sexual assault. I wondered…could this be true? I went online and learned a lot about sexual assault. It made me feel even worse. Then, I got to thinking, these weren’t just numbers – it was me, my friends, and thousands of other innocent people – girls and boys. 107 cases were reported in Sarasota County in 2013. Then I learned that 68% don’t report the crime. I knew immediately that I wanted to do something to help put an end to sexual assault. So, after meeting with my parents, the concept for EMPOWER U was born, and I haven’t looked back since.
I have been working with CYD and my Ambassadors (2 kids from each high school) to prepare for a pledge drive the week of April 13th. The goal is to get as many kids as possible to go to the website and take the pledge to take a stand against sexual assault. Then in the fall I’ll be reaching out to everyone who took the pledge to share a newsletter, social media, and a self-defense workshop with them.
I purposely named my program EMPOWERU because in the future I want to be able to address many more topics that are important to teenagers like drugs, suicide, teen pregnancy, etc., to empower them to be safe and have the best life possible. For now, I’m taking on sexual assault. I want everyone reading this blog to take the pledge. Click on the Take The Pledge icon below or log on to http://www.empowerusrq.com and do your part by taking the pledge. You can also follow my EMPOWERU blog at http://www.empowerusrq.wordpress.com.