What is Power Shift?
“We Are Power Shift” is a grassroots-driven community that seeks to empower and serve as a hub for the youth climate movement. The site offers activists a forum for discussion and a platform to share resources, swap stories, strengthen relationships, and showcase our diverse movement to the media and the world. The goal is to create a community with the momentum to amplify our message and advance our vision of a clean, just and sustainable future. The first Power Shift conference was in 2007 in D.C. and since then there has been several more in the U.S., as well as in Australia, Britain, and New Zealand. Al Gore, Van Jones, Bill McKibben, Ralph Nader, and Nancy Pelosi have all been past speakers.
If you would like to find out more about Power Shift, please click here
Power Shift 2013
Power Shift 2013 is right around the corner! It is a 4-day conference from Oct. 18 to Oct. 21. It will take place in Pittsburg, which is about a 10-hour drive from Charleston. Luckily, I have an amazing team of fellow College of Charleston students that are traveling with me on the long journey there. We have made arrangements to stay with two of my friends from University of Pittsburgh, instead of finding a hotel, but I want to make sure that I am as prepared as I can be! While I work two jobs, money is still tight. This is an opportunity that I can’t pass up and I need your help! So, HELP GET ME TO POWER SHIFT 2013!
What have I been up to?
As you might already know, I have made many lifestyle “shifts” from the time that I entered the College of Charleston as a Freshman, to where I am now, as a Junior. In that time I have experimented with many different directions that I want to go in professionally. This also served as a period of trial and error in which I now have a clearer idea of what I want my future to be.
I worked in restaurants for years and wasn’t getting the fulfillment that I needed. At the end of the day, I would find myself coming home and feeling somewhat empty. I decided I needed a cause. I needed to do something that would help benefit a greater group of people, which is why I started making changes.
The first step I took is when I reached out to Trident United Way, a local non-profit that serves the entire Charleston area, to volunteer at their 211 Hotline. What is 211 Hotline, you might ask. 211 Hotline is a 24hour hotline that provides callers in the community with: supportive listening and crisis intervention, access to information about community resources, as well as a listening ear. I got trained and certified in February of 2013 as a Volunteer Crisis Counselor and certified in Suicide-Intervention (ASSIST Training). For more information on 211 Hotline, click here.
I am currently working two jobs that are both within schools. I work as an Extended-Day Counselor at a local school in downtown Charleston, Meeting Street, and absolutely love the work they do. I work with kids ranging from 1st Grade through 4th Grade in an after-school enrichment program: Catch the Wave. To find out more about Meeting Street Academy, click here.
I also work at the College of Charleston as a Diversity Resource Assistant in the Office of Institutional Diversity. My role there is to advocate and educate students on campus about diversity as well as to provide a non-judgmental environment for students to talk about diversity issues. To find out more about the Office of Diversity, click here. There's a great article written by the on-campus newspaper, the Yard, here.
Recent Things that I am Involved In
I am currently working on other things as well and have some exciting things in the working (including my own student organization and community service project!). Expect more updates in the future.
I am also self-educating myself on SRIs (Socially Responsible Investments) in conjunction with an on-campus group at College of Charleston to increase awareness of our dependence on fossil fuel. Here’s a picture of a seminar I attended on divesting:
On Sept. 21st I organized a "Day of Action" in Charleston, in conjunction with 350.org and over 200 other cities across the country! In an effort to Draw the Line on the Keystone XL and other pipeline construction/expansion I went to schools in the downtown area, had almost 400 students of all ages makes cards that represented what they think or how they feel about the environment and took ALL of these "ecocards" and hung them in a long line in the main park in Charleston during our farmer's market. We also did an activity at the school that I work (Meeting Street Academy) to make the ecocards, which they absolutely loved. The volunteers and I educated everyone who stopped by about the dangers of oil dependence, tar sand extraction, and the many benefits of renewable energy. Check out the pictures below!
What all of this leads up to is why I want to go to Power Shift.
As a Sociology major and double minor in Environmental Studies and Political Science, this is an opportunity of a lifetime. The Conference links you up with people in your regional area and also helps build connections so that we can work towards a greener and healthier future in our immediate surroundings (and hopefully make an impact!). Besides getting to see speakers such as Bill McKibben and representation from the Sierra Club, this will be tremendously influential for me. It will not only lend an opportunity to meet incredible people, but to also share this unique experience with like-minded people, or “be the change you want to see in the world.”
As I hope you already know, please feel free to call/text/email me with questions! Even if you cannot or do not want to donate funding, I would love to chat about what I am working on and catch up. I love you all very much and send my best wishes!
P.S. Any one who contributes will receive a well-documented report on my experience at Power Shift including many photos of the event!