Friday, June 24, 2022

Local youth picked for national junior council

Staff Writer | June 21, 2022 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT – After writing an article about putting kindness first, Sandpoint Middle School student Hunter Squires, 12, can now tell friends he is nationally published as well.

Published in “The Week Junior”, a national magazine for children ages 8-14, the article entitled “Put Kindness First” details how everyday kindness can be beneficial to students, and even gives tips on how to do so.

Since 2021, each season the children's magazine, whose parent magazine — “The Week” — holds a national competition for a position on the “junior council,” The council offers 12 applicants a chance to learn how to turn ideas into action when trying to effect change.

Competing for the spring council, Squires beat dozens of other children and was selected for one of the coveted positions. In addition to learning virtually from mentors about how to use his voice, Squires learned how to research and write about assigned topics, conduct an interview, and spoke with community leaders about important issues. In addition, he along with the other council members wrote content for and together with council members created content for “The Week Junior.”

Once formed, the spring council collectively decided they would work to “increase inclusion and promote diversity in the world.” Each member wrote about a topic that affect the cause they chose, with some members researching and writing about topics such as mental health and racism. For Squires, the issue starts with something as simple as being kind.

“I did it because I noticed, especially in this day and age, kindness is not really in forefront of everyone’s mind,” Squires said.

Working on the article alone, Squires said the process of writing the article took him three weeks and the only help he had was coming up with a research topic and getting in touch with an expert to interview.

While the Junior Council is meant to teach kids how to speak up for important causes, Squires said he gained a lot more than that, including help with English, confidence, and friends. Although they are spread out across the country, Squires said he and the other council members already have plans to continue meeting outside of the Junior Council. In addition, Squires said he plans to take what he learned about kindness and use it in his school and community.

“I really liked the Junior Council. It was just like, a really close group of people. It was really fun. Even helped me with English a little bit,” Squires said.

“It's very simple to be kind to other people. Just a simple smile, a compliment, can help someone’s day a lot and improve our community,” Squires said.

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