Starting a Non-Profit Organization, as a Student in High School
My name is Galicia Gordon, and I am a senior in high school from Vancouver, Canada! I took action about one year ago to start up Leading Learners as a hub for free and accessible student resources. I initially began researching students at my high school, by conducting surveys with groups of students, inquiring on youth development.
I asked students if they felt prepared for their future endeavors, if they were receiving sufficient resources, and was not so surprised to find out that over 60% of the students questioned claimed to have “no idea” what they wanted to do after high school.
These surveys were done out of curiosity, in my limited spare time, to get insight on student readiness and support. The most impactful circumstance I came across was by one of my closest friends, who, at the time, was in the 11th grade, and has zero volunteer hours. She demonstrated sincere concern, especially since every student requires 30 hours to graduate.
As an active leader in my community, I scoured the community boards, asked fellow educators for their resources used, and social media postings, to formulate a website of free resources, specified for students. As I was only 16 years old, I wanted to have advising educators on board. Teachers and counselors had given me the resources they use in their classrooms and agreed that there was a huge gap between students and their accessibility to free resources to support their academic journeys.
Now, Leading Learners strives to empower students through 100s of free resources, opportunities, and programs. Such resources include scholarships which are free to apply to, toolkits, classroom posters, and educator-recommended subject resources, among 100s of others. I am proud to now say, that through our national student-led team's hard work, we have reached over 100, 000 students, and it's crazy how much a small realization became a large, global movement!
Now, starting this all did have some challenges to be overcome. The first, imposter syndrome. Personally, I believe Imposter Syndrome is not discussed enough, especially during students' academic times. If you
begin to see yourself shifting your priorities towards your work above personal well being, this is the time to bring awareness to the fact that you are a person who deserves time to yourself. Know that, although you may be a needed member of your community, your mind and body should take the lead. Begin by bringing attention to your change in mindset, and identify which seeping elements could be improved, for the better. Second, I often find myself in a loop of a delay and waiting on a ‘certain moment.’ I would suggest to all students reading that the “right” moment can be now! Small steps daily, or even weekly, do accumulate in the long-term. Pick out your strengths, take action, and push forward --you can do it!
Writer - Galicia Gordon (Featured Writer)
Editor - Priyam Kusundal
Illustrator - Lily Tan (Instagram - @lilytan.arts)
Graphics - Hafsa Ocomen