After last month’s tragic shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, high school students have received a lot of attention in the media. Much of that attention has been focused on events and activities organized by students themselves.

The media tend to focus on the hurt and destruction of others, but I believe the youth in Utah can be a powerful force for good in our state and nation. But we don’t necessarily need to organize large events to do that. Sometimes, we can change lives simply by including others and being kind. That doesn’t take legislation. It takes courage — courage to approach another student and do something for someone other than yourself.

We can reach out to students who might feel lonely and invite them to an activity. We can reach out to someone who causes a disturbance in class and ask how they’re doing. We can let teachers know that we appreciate them. We can talk to people we normally might avoid and learn what we have in common.

There aren’t enough people doing these things right now. And we’re all poorer for it.

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Many people my age are hurting and others are scared. I’m not a doctor or an expert, but I can still try to make lives better. And if I can, so can everyone else. Frederick Douglass said, “It’s easier to build strong children than to fix broken men,” and I believe that. If we can help build the youth, then maybe we can stop a violent thought before it becomes a violent act. We can march, we can be frustrated, but we can also show each other we care a little more. I think America could use a little more kindness right now.

Alessa Love

Westlake High School