Meet Two Young Chicago Activists Doing Their Part to Change the World

Teenagers don’t deserve the bad rap they often get: the latest generation is truly inspiring. They are working to fight climate change, raise mental health awareness, make schools safer and to end bullying. Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg, who is leading the School Strike for Climate, was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Here are two incredible students in Chicago that are dedicating their time to great causes, proving that one person has the power to make a big difference.


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Who: Hannah Frazer, high school senior

Cause: To end bullying and promote community with the non-profit and conversation starter game she founded, Question Connection

In middle school, Hannah found social interactions (or lack thereof) challenging. “As soon as the lunch bell rang, the majority of my classmates and I raced from our classrooms and made a beeline for certain tables,” she said. “We rushed because we were afraid that we would not have a place to sit. We rushed because we feared being left out. This particular time of day always left the most confident of us feeling unsure and vulnerable.”

When Hannah entered high school, she developed an independent study project that focused on how to improve the overall social and emotional wellbeing of young students, starting with the lunchroom. This common school interaction led Hannah to develop Question Connection, under the supervision of her AP Psychology teacher. “I often wondered how different my experience might have been if I had been afforded a safe way to meet and connect with my peers on a deeper level,” she said. Question Connection is a card deck that includes conversation starters that teachers or group leaders can use to build community. The questions included in Question Connection “fosters a supportive environment to help participants feel more comfortable, actively participate in conversations, take academic risks, and build relationships with their peers.”

Question Connection
Image courtesy of Question Connection.

Question Connection has really taken off in classrooms across the U.S. and internationally. It has been translated into Spanish, Japanese and Chinese, and was brought by an ESL teacher to students in China and Korea. “I recently worked with Highland Park High School’s Link Crew program to orient freshman students to their new school and peers and engaged in a school-wide retreat with the Anti-Defamation League, using Question Connection to begin courageous conversations,” Hannah added.


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Who: Scarlett Harper, age 10

Cause: To fight climate change with education about science, green living and small ways to help the earth

Lauren Harper always knew her daughter was special. “Scarlett loves science and the earth, gardening, propagating, science, bees and butterflies,” she said. Scarlett is using her love of the environment to educate others on ways they can help save the planet, through her social media, which is a fun way for her to express what it means to be a kid in environmentalism.

Scarlett also participated in the recent School Strike for Climate and was one of the youngest activists in attendance. “It was a very invigorating day for her,” her mother said. Inspired by Jane Goodall, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Greta Thunberg, Scarlett hopes to help make the world a better place and hopes to see “as much of a conversion to green energy as possible in the next 5 years. I also hope to see the everyday lives of citizens of this world changing to try to alter the path of climate change. Instead of being overwhelmed by climate change, we can all do our part to stop it.”


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What are one or two things people can do at home to help the climate crisis? In her own words, Scarlett says, “First, instead of relying on recycling, avoid bringing plastic things home in the first place.  At the grocery store, buy foods that aren’t packaged in plastic. Before you buy something, think, ‘will this thing I’m about to buy end up in a landfill or will it be useful for a long time?’ The second big thing is to eat less red meat, which requires lots of resources that hurt the climate.”

Follow Scarlett for more tips about living a greener life.

Macaire Douglas lives in Chicago with her husband and two sons. She proudly supports Share Our Spare, a local nonprofit that collects goods for children in need.




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