BUCKINGHAM SENIOR AIMS TO MAKE TEENS MORE SOCIALLY AWARE
So many societal ills are swirling and teens don’t know how to deal or where to turn.
Which is why a Buckingham Charter Magnet High School senior created a safe place to land — her Social Awareness Club at the school.
“I was looking around my school and there were all these clubs, but nothing about what’s happening in the world, in the media, about how women are being treated or how men are being treated,” the 17-year-old said. “The point of my club is to talk about issues.”
Now 20-people strong, a diverse group of 10 young men and 10 young women, the group gets together to talk about all manner of issues facing them in the world today and to fully discuss their feelings in a safe, non-judgmental environment.
It’s been about two years in the making, about the same length of time Jacqueline has been involved in a project at the Vacaville Neighborhood Boys & Girls Club involving gender stereotypes and labels. By promoting documentaries on female stereotypes (Miss Representation) and male stereotypes (The Mask You Live In), the club aimed to teach both genders to embrace themselves and not be defined by labels placed on them by society and the media. By being true to themselves and owning their feelings, it’s believed that all people will live much happier, more fulfilling lives.
“The conversations that you have afterwards is really a great piece (of the project),” said Anna Eaton, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club. “She did want to bring awareness to her peers. They do need to get this message … and allow thoughtful conversations to guide them.”
Officials with the Vacaville Unified School District have said that they will be starting a pilot program in the schools using curriculum from the Miss Representation Project.
“I’m super proud that she got this up and running,” Eaton continued, adding that Buckingham will be hosting the upcoming youth summit, the second hosted by the club this year.
Jacqueline said she looks forward to more table talks and activities with her club members and alerting other students to the club’s existence.
Some topics to be discussed include the Black Lives Matter movement, racial profiling and the importance of the upcoming presidential election.
Talks, she said, will sure be interesting.
“I’m really excited,” Jacqueline emphasized.
A big event this year is an upcoming fashion show put on by her best friend and club vice president, Renaja Pringle.
Pringle is the president of a school club focused on fashion, and she’ll be collaborating with Jacqueline to provide the models.
“Her focus and I agree is on showing that girls don’t have to be a size 0 to be beautiful,” she said. “If you want to be a fashion model, go for it.”
Both clubs want to reach out to their peers and get them involved.
“We’re both in this generation. We’re both here to take a stand and make our generation good,” she explained. “We are the technology generation but we only use it — Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram — for fun. We don’t use it for good.”
Fundraisers are being planned and the proceeds, club members have approved, will go to the Boys & Girls Club.
“Miss Anna doesn’t know this,” she said, adding that her club’s vote, after she explained her pitch, was unanimous.
“I’ve been going to the Boys & Girls Club since the eighth grade,” she said. “The Boys & Girls Club has had an impact on my life.”