Amazing Kids! Magazine

Amazing Kid! of the Month – Grace Wilkerson – September 2016

Written by Victoria Feng, AKOM Writer and Money Smarts Editor
Grace Wilkerson, 18 year old Founder of Kickin’ Violence

 

Quote of the Month

“Find your passions and never lose sight of them. With passion, no obstacle is too great.”
-Grace Wickerson, 18 year old Founder of Kickin’ Violence

September Amazing Kid! of the Month

September celebrates learning. Many kids are starting school and meeting new teachers and friends. Teachers educate students on core skills like math, writing, and much more. Throughout the school year, kids create projects, take tests, and engage in the classroom to learn. Clubs and extracurriculars are filled with opportunities too. Kids can learn more about topics that go beyond the school curriculum. Amazing Kids! encourages you to start off this school year excited and ready to learn.

Inspired by her Tae Kwan Do lessons, Grace Wickerson started Kickin’ Violence for the Girl Scout Gold Award Project. In Tae Kwan Do, Grace learned to respect and use her skills carefully. She used those core values to create a program supporting non-violence. Her story is one that shows the power of passion.

Keep reading to find more about Grace and Kickin’ Violence!

Grace holds with candy she plans on donating.

Grace holds with candy she plans on donating.

Pulling the Plug on Violence

Grace is a Tae Kwan Do student, and when she started to work towards her Girl Scout Gold Award Project, she used that as an inspiration. She wanted to help end violence. She asked herself if young people like her could make a difference.

The answer was yes.

While working on Kickin’ Violence, Grace realized that the only way to stop violence was to educate today’s youth. She says that to stop worldwide violence kids have to know how to prevent it and hopefully stop it forever. Kickin’ Violence’s curriculum is about using the values of martial arts and teaching kids about how that can make a difference and fight violence.

Kickin’ Violence does a lot of amazing things, but when it first started out, its goal was simple: Help youth know about violence so they could help fight it. To achieve this goal, Kickin’ Violence has created many programs including hosting workshops that allow youth in the community to learn about different types of violence.

It is important to stop worldwide violence, and from the ways Grace is working against it, you can really sense her passion for youth advocacy. In her words- “I believe that mobilizing youth-based advocacy is the key to solving global problems.”

A slogan by Kickin’ Violence drawn with chalk.

A slogan by Kickin’ Violence drawn with chalk.

Grace’s program has already been a terrific success. She has won a LEAD360 award for Kickin’ Violence and her Survivor Packs. LEAD360 is a national competition featuring people who are helping others.

In addition to educating teens about violence, Kickin’ Violence also does many other types service projects. For example, for Valentine’s Day they created and donated 160 valentines to domestic violence shelters.

Founding School Clubs

It’s hard not to be impressed with Grace’s Kickin’ Violence and Survivor Packs, but it’s even harder when learning about the other clubs Grace participates in and their accomplishments. Grace has started Girls who Code and Science Olympiad at her school. She believes that clubs are important in making friends and helping kids explore their passions.

Grace says her school does not have many STEM activities outside the classroom but Grace tried to change that by starting two STEM clubs: Girls who Code and Science Olympiad. As a leader of both clubs, she actively promotes them and teaches members new things. Grace credits the success of these clubs to focusing on making the clubs just better.

Science Olympiad is a team competition where members compete in different science topics with regional, state, and national levels. As the founder of Science Olympiad, Grace works with their teacher coaches and values her role in locating funding and finding new members. In just their first year they won several medals at regionals.

Grace and her Science Olympiad team members go to state competition.

Grace and her Science Olympiad team members go to state competition.

Through clubs, students meet and build relationships with students that they may not normally meet during their school days. Grace says that her friends in her clubs are her family and she will stay close with them for many years to come. Clubs also teach kids things beyond the school curriculum and by starting Science Olympiad and Girls who Code, Grace has brought numerous students opportunities to find their passions.

Fueling Her Passion

While being successful in starting and growing her various volunteer activities, Grace says that when she was in 9th grade, she became distracted by looking to accumulate leadership titles (e.g. founder, president, CEO) in order to get accepted into a good college. As she matured and as her work showed her the importance of working together and making a difference, Grace looked beyond the titles and focus on her passions. Though there are some failures, Grace says,

“…true leaders look to utilize their failure to improve themselves or their efforts to make a difference.”

Amazing Kids! agrees and we wish her luck on her journey and hope our readers will find something they are passionate about too. Learning is crucial and helps us connect with ideas and people we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Let learning drive you this September in the classroom and in clubs. If your school doesn’t have clubs that support your passion, create your own and follow Grace’s example.

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