Flourish Global Initiative strives to empower and enrich the lives of children marginalized by poverty and discrimination, both locally and abroad. We try to work against the pervailing stigma of “otherness” that we’ve personally encountered as women of color — “otherness” that may come from socioeconomic status, gender, race, etc. — and that is particularly disparaging to children. The life of a child should be burgeoning with possibilities and potential, not weighed down with hopelessness due to circumstances way beyond a young person’s control. Our three central initiatives are rooted in children’s issues: “Nourish & Flourish,” which focuses on food insecurity in the DC area; “Little Sisters,” which combats gender discrimination in the developing world, and “Kids First,” which funds resources for students at local Title I schools.
We started our organization as “Flourish Club” in 2014, when we weren’t yet high school juniors. Service opportunities for young people can sometimes be limited. Running our little nonprofit group gave us the opportunity to actually dig deep into community problems — to identify issues, to design projects accordingly, to raise the money ourselves. It opened our eyes up in ways we never could’ve imagined.
That’s why we consider our organization now to be “youth led, youth based, and youth focused.” We want to be by and for our generation. We read stories all the time about young people, often as young as grade school children, who conjure up brilliant and compassionate ideas to help their community. But they’re rarely ever given the platform or the freedom to fully execute these organic ideas. We believe in that passion, as well as in the power of young people to make a change in the public space. And so that’s why we will be launching our “Flourish Clubs” program, to give kids the tools and funds to change their own communities without the limitations often placed on them.
Even as our organization is now a federally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit, we still face roadblocks all the time. Sometimes, it’s merely because people don’t take us seriously enough just because we’re so young. With our initiative, we hope to change that perception.
Sarah Fernandez is a high school senior and a Flourish Global Initiative communications intern. She is passionate about journalism, writing, and x. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.