By Talia Yohai, Guest Writer
Participating in the 2020 Youth Leadership Summit by NYLC taught me a lot about the importance of leadership and service learning in order to address issues regarding education inequity all over the world.
In this conference, I had the chance to talk to many teenagers from many different parts of the world that wanted to come up with solutions to the education inequity in their own situations. Talking to these very different people, I realized that for many people, education inequity is seen more in terms of the diversity and the intersectionality of the students. Meanwhile on the other hand, here in Colombia education inequity is seen more in the sense of socioeconomic status and privilege vs poverty.
Coming into the Summit, I did not really imagine and understand that education inequity is definitely seen when it comes to different identities. Then I started to think about it and it definitely made sense and I even started to relate to some of the things that they were saying about the difficulties in education when one has a diverse identity. In my community, the Jewish religion is a minority among the Christian religion. In my school, you can see this as well, with there only being up to 10 Jewish kids in each grade (if any).
This conference for me brought to light the idea of how I myself experience education inequity due to my intersectionality. I am not saying that I have ever felt oppressed by anyone because of my religion but I now realize that in my school, because the majority of the students and staff belong to the Christian religion, Judaism can at sometimes be slightly disregarded. At times I have heard students say jokes about the Holocaust that really impact me given that I am a Jew, but because I have to “fit in”, I just stay quiet and pretend like it’s okay. The Summit showed me that I can stand up for my identity and I should not have to even hear these jokes made about a very harsh subject to my community.
I think that the conference definitely lit up a spark in me and makes me want to stand up and advocate against the hate and anti semitism to my religion. On another note, we also had a session focused on service learning and leadership. I really love doing social service and I learned a lot about how I can be a better leader. By taking the test to see which type of leader I am, I saw that being a South, I am really focused on creating relationships with others and the more human side of service. This kind of confirmed to me that I want to make a difference for people who are facing issues by connecting to them. I also feel like I really got to understand the IPARD (Investigation, Planning & Preparation, Action, Reflection, and Demonstration) process of service much better thanks to the explanation they gave because even though we had seen it in VIP one time, I didn’t really fully understand it. But now, knowing the process I want to apply it to whenever I do social service because I really liked the steps and the way it was organized.
Finally, I learned that many teens have the same fear of trying to make a big difference like me because we are afraid of what others may think. I now know that we are the future of the world and we can actually start making differences now! I want to try to think of a project with the IPARD idea in my mind to see if I find a cause that passions me to want to help!