Passionate Youth Building Awareness, Taking Action

By: Kate
Kate is participating in Allowance for Good's spring 2014 Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy: Explorers program.     

One issue that I am passionate about is domestic violence and abuse. I am passionate about this topic because I was exposed to this through my swim club and through my church. I swim for the YWCA Flying Fish in Evanston. While this is a completive swim program, it is unique because the pool is located in the YWCA which houses displaced women and their families. Every year our team raises money for the YWCA through a ‘swim marathon’. For the swim marathon we swim as many laps as possible within one hour. We each raise money by collecting donations for each lap we swim. This year the Flying Fish raised almost $100,000 and it is all donated to the YWCA to help the abused women and their families. I have been doing this for the past eight years. During this time I have learned about domestic violence and abuse.

I also experienced the affects of domestic violence and abuse this past winter while doing volunteer work for my church. A few friends and I volunteered to work at the Night Ministries in downtown Chicago. We helped serve food to the homeless and less fortunate. Before we started, the person in charge told us that some of the women we were going serve are victims of domestic violence. This really hit home when a young woman came through the line with tears in the corners of her eyes. I could tell immediately that something was wrong but it was not my place to ask too many questions. When she went through the line my dad asked her if he could do anything for her, but she shook her head no. Just from looking at her tear stricken face, I could tell something was very wrong and it made my mind wonder with questions. Was she a victim of domestic abuse? Did she have anyone she could talk to? I was only there to give her a warm meal, but I wished there was a way I could do more. 

From my involvement in both of these organizations, I have had some exposure to domestic violence and abuse. However, I’d like to become more involved. To build onto the work I have already accomplished I can look into volunteering at the YWCA to help these women. This issue inspires me because I do not think it is something anyone should have to go through. I also think that people everywhere should become more educated about this issue so we can try and prevent it from happening again.

Kate, left, discusses leadership styles with AfG Executive Director Elizabeth Newton at an Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy seminar.