Juniors Chelsea and her best friend Bryson, who attends Loyola High School, won the Princeton Prize for Race Relations for their volunteer work co-founding and running “The Change” program at the Jenesse Center, a shelter for female victims of domestic violence.
The award is given to high school students from across the nation who work to improve race relations in their community. Chelsea ’11 and Bryson ’11 each received $500, and as two of 28 national winners, they traveled to Princeton University April 29 to take part in the 3rd Annual Princeton Prize Symposium on Race.
“The Change” is a program for children growing up in the shelter. It encourages racial harmony since most of the children there come from diverse racial backgrounds. Chelsea said she felt it necessary for these children to get along better with each other at an early age.
“We noticed that the kids were self segregating themselves and making racial slurs about each other. Bryson and I made it our goal to stop their racist mentality before they turned into racist adults,” Chelsea said.
She and Bryson started activities to engage the children to cooperate with each other, including a puppet show called “The Friendship Fruit Salad,” in which racially diverse puppets must compromise and work together to make a fruit salad out of the different fruits each one brings.
At the Symposium, which lasted until May 1, Chelsea and Bryson had the opportunity to meet the other winners and learn about each other’s thoughts and experiences with race relations.
“The weekend taught me so much about other people, the world, race and diversity, society, and myself. It was the greatest experience of my entire life,” Chelsea said.