Portrait of a Young Manasquan Girl Who Wants to Make a Difference
This middle school student is passionate about creating change.
Olivia may only be 11 years old and in sixth grade, but she is quite mature for her young age. She wants to be a good role model and actively participate in life.
Since the Parkland shootings, Olivia has been very focused on taking a stand. Her parents didn't want her to walk out of school, so she started looking for other avenues to express herself.
Once she heard about the marches that were taking place this past weekend (when thousands of students from around the country were rallying as part of March For Our Lives,) she was ready to head straight to Washington D.C. But since that wasn't an option for her, she looked for a local march.
Olivia prepared her own sign with her own words (it says "My Classroom IS NOT a Battlefield") and attended an event in Asbury Park, where she was among other Monmouth County school kids and adults who wanted to make their beliefs known.
Olivia got to experience being part of a sizable crowd for a cause, witnessed several speakers, many of them the young organizers of the march and teens from several area high schools in our area, who got up on stage to speak, as well as Congressman Frank Pallone.
Olivia then joined the march to the boardwalk, sign held high, from Liberty Park to the Asbury Park boardwalk.The march took up the entire street and was several blocks long. Everyone was positive and in good spirits.
Olivia's dad, Ed, who was there with her, says it was amazing to hear these young kids speak with such eloquence, emotion, and intelligence. "To see the youth active for change and standing up for what they believe is right gives me hope. Democracy and freedom are not easy and take commitment and work. These kids know that and they will change the world."
Olivia says she had a great time and was amazed that so many people came out to march. She says she specifically went to protest being scared at school when she should feel safe.
Olivia's mom, Jennifer, says that she and her husband try to have honest discussions about current events without over-exposing their daughter at her young age. "Olivia cares tremendously about other people and is invested in the safety and well-being of others. She wants to be part of the bigger picture."
Jennifer says her daughter has always been scared by school safety drills because it has always seemed like such a real threat for her.
Whatever side of this issue you find yourself on, I am very proud that a young girl chooses to do something constructive to try and help create positive change. What a strong, brave, and amazing young woman you are becoming, Olivia!