American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California

The ACLU is dedicated to defending the civil liberties of all people.  Students can start an ACLU club on their campus, attend their student conference, and help in other ways.  Each summer, the ACLU and a group of high school students travel throughout California for seven days to explore a controversial issue in-depth.

Amnesty International USA

Where there has been a call to action, to stand up and speak out, young people have been there, leading the fight for social justice. Getting involved with Amnesty International is one way to join that fight.  You can participate in Amnesty International letter writing campaigns, start an Amnesty International group at your school, sign up for Amnesty’s free email newsletter for students volunteer, or become a member.

Global Exchange

Global Exchange is an international human rights organization dedicated to promoting environmental, social and political justice. They have a structured summer internship program, which requires you to work there a minimum of 20 hours a week for two-three months.

Youth Activism Project

Many adults recognize that the long tradition of making decisions for youth without youth has failed.  Getting the powers-that-be to take seriously the ideas and solutions offered by the next generation is not as difficult as you might expect. Youth Activism is a youth advocate resource center.

Youth Noise

Speak out. Take Action. MAKE SOME NOISE! YouthNoise fills dangerous a silence in global culture by giving youth voices to make a stand.

From Texas to Athenian: What I’ve Learned from Four Years in the Dorms

by Garrett Vaughn ’16

IMG_3325The words ‘senior’ and ‘graduation’ still seem so foreign to me, but pausing for a moment to consider that it’s already April, and with every college letter that slowly trickles in, it should be hard to deny these two words. I’ve been boarding at Athenian for four years, and while watching the boarding community grow in both students and on-campus faculty has been great, I am also struck by the small, insular, and thoughtful community I joined three years ago.

Freshman year was a year of transitions: moving from a small, quiet town in Texas to Danville, California was quite a change in pace, and the world I knew expanded. As an only child for fourteen years, suddenly I had a roommate and seventeen other brothers all with their own patterns and routines. Communal living was challenging and required a different sort of patience then I was used to. I had to be patient with my roommate and came to the conclusion that sometimes when I wanted to go to bed, the lights might be left on for another hour as he completed his homework. Several years later, I considered that maybe I should have been more patient when talking to Dorm Assistants (Dorm Prefects as they are now called) and not have been so combative when I thought they were being unreasonable to make me work dish crew on my day off.

I also had to learn to be patient with myself. One of the hardest transitions was going from a public school to Athenian’s experiential academics. I had to give myself space to grow as a learner and to go easy on myself when I fell below my personal expectations. Likewise, I also learned to be proactive and to seek help when I needed it.

I’m thankful for that small community I found when I first came to Athenian. I am still struck by the friends that I’ve made these last four years. And while our relationships haven’t always been perfect, I don’t know who I would be without these people. I’ve lived with Paula now for four years at Athenian, and her room is still a place where I unwind and decompress, go through a thousand or more flashcards on Anatomy terms before a test, or go to watch movies on the weekends. These are the kinds of simple experiences that highlight my Athenian career.  Athenian has molded me into a critical thinker, a pursuer of truth, and a questioner of the world. But what I’m most thankful for is this wonderful community that has pushed me and given me support and the small family that has grown around me.