S.T.A.N.D. Students Taking Action and Nurturing Diversity
Your generosity inspires advocacy, awareness, and change.
  • “I literally used to think differently . . .
  • S.T.A.N.D. brought me to discard biases
  • and inspired me to be a better person overall.”
  • -Larissa Follmar, S.T.A.N.D. Treasurer-
  • In October 2023, Kerah Walker, a junior student at Lapel High School, decided to take action to build an environment where all students feel respected and included. Several other students with a similar passion joined her and they began the work of creating a mission statement for a new student club. The result of their efforts is S.T.A.N.D., Students Taking Action and Nurturing Diversity. Walker, S.T.A.N.D.

    President, sent the plan to school administration and it was approved by the school board in February 2024 where several students spoke to the board and advocated for the club. “They were impressed and liked our initiative with everything,” Walker says.

    Since the club’s inception a few short months ago, club attendance has tripled in size and even more students have participated in field trips and educational events. Field trips have included the Diversity Showcase at Butler University and the Women’s Summit at IU Bloomington. The club plans to volunteer at festivals and events that promote pride and diversity awareness. They also would like to provide trainings and guest speakers for both faculty and students regarding implicit bias, racial diversity, and respect.

  • Students have been able to attend events free of charge and obtain supplies and training because of a grant made possible through the Madison County Community Foundation.

Walker, S.T.A.N.D. Vice President, Allye Wilkerson, and S.T.A.N.D. Treasurer, Larissa Follmar all participated in the More and Diverse Voices group, a community based action plan sponsored by the Madison County Community Foundation through a Lilly Endowment initiative. Through these conversations with students from other Madison County Schools they realized the need for greater advocacy and awareness.

groupWhat is most notable is the passion of the club officers to incite real change in the community in which they live. They imagine a school and community where every person feels respected, included, and has a strong sense of belonging. They realize that lasting change takes time and they are willing to put in the effort to work for it.

Through the ongoing efforts of S.T.A.N.D., the club would like to provide a safe space for students to share their experiences and express concerns. Often students simply need an unbiased place to talk and seek advice when they have experienced micro-aggressions or a form of discrimination. The club would like to see a greater sense of camaraderie among students as they grow to understand and respect differences.

Kathie Hodgson, LHS English faculty and S.T.A.N.D. sponsor, continues to walk alongside students as they navigate leadership of S.T.A.N.D. “Change starts small, but it’s worth it.”

Every gift, large and small, contributes to the mission of Madison County Community Foundation to increase the quality of life for the citizens of Madison County. Although this particular project was funded through a Lilly grant held at MCCF, it is representative of the many needs in Madison County that are sponsored through Community Impact Grants. Consider giving to the Impact Madison Fund to help us continue to meet emerging local needs. All donations to this fund will be tripled. Your generosity truly does inspire advocacy, awareness, and change.   


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