When Rachel Starr was in fourth grade, she experienced ThinkGive in her class at school. Seven years later, she joined the ThinkGive Student Advisory Board.
What was your experience with ThinkGive as a fourth grade student?
I will always point to my fourth grade teacher as someone who has shaped me an incredible amount. She led every lesson and every day with the message that we could all make a difference in the world-not as adults, but right now. At age 10, I learned that I had a voice, that I could advocate for everything in which I so strongly believed. However, she didn’t just focus on the huge, tangible impacts like policy change that everyone strives for. She instilled in us the understanding that the smallest acts of kindness can make the biggest differences (by using the ThinkGive weekly kindness challenges).
What have you taken with you from that experience with ThinkGive?
[What I learned] comes into play in all my interactions to this day. Especially with so much controversy and partisanship today, we are all encouraged to take a side, to foster distrust and dislike towards anyone of a different opinion. However, the lessons I learned from fourth grade will always motivate me to lead with an open mind and a kind approach. It is the most important message in my life because I have seen how impactful it is firsthand. I know that I can change the world, and I’m going to start by engaging with kindness first. This was an essential part of my climate action group, a branch of Action for the Climate Emergency that I started in Boston. We were consistently working towards change on a bigger scale, but we led with the goal of connecting with our members first and learning about how we could best make a difference in the most affected communities.
Why did you want to be involved with the ThinkGive Student Advisory Board?
I have been motivated to change the world since a young age. I feel passionately about the environmental crisis and how that connects to racism, classism, the economy, and disability rights. I work hard to educate myself and others about all human rights issues, and I know I have a lot more to learn. Communicating and working with other students who feel as strongly as I do about these issues would be the most motivating and life-changing opportunity. Of course, there are many people my age striving to make these differences, but I don’t always feel a sense of support or community when I am advocating for my passions. This board would be my first experience completely immersed in a support system that shares my dedication, while opening me up to new perspectives. I will take away more encouragement to keep fighting for what I believe. I also hope to start on the path to creating more change with the ThinkGive projects because I will have more structure and resources.