Anyla Unique Lee

Student Changemaker

"...with Generation Citizen, I’m not just a leader in the classroom-- I’m learning to be a leader in my community."

Del Sesto Middle School 7th grader Anyla’s confidence and maturity made her a strong role model for her fellow students as they worked to address gang violence. But it was her personal connection to the issue that motivated her to take action. At Civics Day, Anyla shared that she worries about a friend who routinely makes poor decisions and could end up in trouble. This wasn’t just an issue she heard about on the news - she was facing it in her daily life. After learning that creating more positive opportunities for youth can prevent them from joining gangs, her class decided to lobby for the state to provide more employment opportunities for young people. They wrote letters to their state Senators and Representatives as well as to the Governor and circulated a petition around the school. Anyla’s teacher and Democracy Coach commended Anyla’s ability to motivate her peers through her contagious enthusiasm and determination to make her voice heard.
“I realized that what I can do by myself isn't enough... But [with] GC, we thought about bigger ways to keep youth like my friend from getting involved in gangs...I'm 12 years old. Once I get to 15 or 16, and I'm in a situation where I see a problem that needs to be fixed, I'll be ready to lead my peers! Everything I learned in GC will be with me throughout my life. And I can share it with others who don't know how to step up and make their voices heard. [My Democracy Coach] is teaching me to become a better leader, so that I can teach my friends and my family and my community. And that's what being a leader is all about...with GC, I’m not just a leader in the classroom-- I’m learning to be a leader in my community as well.”