Guest post: this post is from Carly Shields and Jennie Shaw, two rising juniors at Downingtown STEM Academy, which we visited in early June. Read it and you’ll understand why I feel so blessed to be able to work with students such as these. There are, indeed, Brighter Days ahead for this world.

When Angela Maiers visited us, it was the final week of school, and we had finished finals. We thought we were done for the year, but little did we know that we were about to change the world.

On the first day, we all met in the auditorium, and Angela spoke to us and inspired us all. It was the first time that everyone in our grade was on the same page.

It only took two words — you matter. The meaning behind these two words is so powerful, and it changed our outlook on life. Well why were these words so important? For some, these words could simply put a smile on their face, or brighten up their day. But for others, it could save their lives. Just having someone tell you that you matter can make that big a difference.

Angela then gave us our mission. She wanted us to use our genius and skills to create something that would change the world. And so we did. Seems too simple, doesn’t it? Well with a room full of young, innovative people, we knew we could do it.

Usually, everyone thinks that it’s only adults who have control to change the world; but what a room full of us teenagers accomplished in a mere two school days will surely change that thinking.

Over the next two days, we worked rigorously and passionately to create projects that addressed what we felt were important issues in the world. Angela connected us with several people via Twitter and other social networking sites, and this taught us that adults take our ideas seriously and want to help us succeed. At least 10 organizations were launched.

This blew our minds. How could we make such an impact? Were people really willing to help us change the world? The answer was yes.
For example, we created something that is very near and dear to our hearts – an organization called Brighter Days that seeks to put an end to suicide. Since we have both lost someone to suicide, we know the terrible effects that it has on family, friends, and the community.

  • Brighter Days will strive to save the lives being lost by showing people their purpose in life, and that they do matter.
  • It’s amazing how a community can come together when a valuable life is lost, and we want to tell people how to handle that.
  • We will share our experiences in order to assure people that everything will be all right in the end, and that there will always be brighter days ahead!

We’d like to thank our teacher, Mr. Staub, for introducing Angela to the STEM community, and for all of the hard work he put into making all of this happen. And of course, Angela Maiers, for being such an inspiration to us all individually and as a school. What we have accomplished in one week is unbelievable, and we hope she comes back to see our progress soon!