For a long time, society has been conforming people to stick to what is “normal”, to not be different. We are afraid of being stared at, afraid of being looked down upon. When someone’s appearance looks a different way, eyebrows are raised. When someone acts a different way, judgemental looks are exchanged. Why should our individuality be a bad thing?
Over the summer, I was a junior counselor at an outdoor camp called Schoolhouse of Wonder. It is a camp where kids from all walks of life can explore the outdoors and just be themselves. To these children, Schoolhouse of Wonder is their own safe haven, a place to have fun and let loose. Upon visiting IGNITE, an afterschool program for young adults with autism, I was reminded of the compassionate and welcoming community I was a part of over the summer. During a game night at IGNITE, while watching Studio Ghibli movies with freshly popped popcorn and laughing over UNO games, I realized that IGNITE is also a safe haven for its own members.
It doesn’t matter what differences you have, because just like Schoolhouse of Wonder, at IGNITE different is just different. No eyebrows raised, no judgemental looks, no questions asked.
Junior Class Senator