My name is Sofie and I joined Beyond Differences because I wanted to help middle schoolers free themselves from the pain of social isolation.
I had experienced unseen social isolation throughout my life and knew how devastating it can be. Especially, throughout elementary and middle school I always felt on the outs but I could never understand why. In my case, it was because I did not realize I was queer until I got out of the toxic environment of middle school. I had spent so long isolated, unable to live my authentic self.
I never wanted to go back to that and I wanted to work to ensure no one else felt that way. On the Beyond Differences National Teen Board, each of us is celebrated for who we are and we are given the tools to help others. After two years of being online, I was looking forward to finally meeting all of the National Teen Board Members in person. I was also really looking forward to all the amazing speakers and the workshops that we would be doing.
The most exciting part about Activist Academy was actually doing the workshops with youth activists from around the country and being able to build a safe space. I think it was hugely beneficial to me personally because it allowed me to be more vulnerable with both myself and the other people around me. I got to learn how truly important it is to share your stories and the deep beneficial impact that they can have on people.
I can’t wait to work to inspire high school and middle school students to build cultures of belonging. I am so ready to show them that after anything I’ve gone through with social isolation, I was able to create a world where I can be my authentic self. I feel confident I can show them they can do this too. Through the curriculums I am building with my fellow National Teen Board Members I know will be able to uplift other queer kids out of isolation as well as train them to serve as powerful allies to other communities that are so often silenced.
National Teen Board Member
The misson of Beyond Differences® is to inspire students nationwide to end social isolation and create cultures of belonging for everyone. We envision a world where all youth are accepted, valued, and included no matter their differences. Beyond Differences® offers FREE SEL curriculum, lesson plans, and supplies’ to middle school educators all across the nation. Bring our programs to your school today!