From Shiloh, meet Illinois Rep Niyah, Be Strong’s June 2020 Student of the Month!
“Kindness isn’t something that you just find and pick up. It’s something that you use and cherish forever.”
Somewhere inside each of us are the desire to be great and the ability to do great things for others. Be Strong was first introduced to Niyah by her school’s principal, Ms. Laurent, in December of 2019. It was immediately clear that Niyah, at 14 years-old, is highly motivated to use her presence, strengths and voice to help others.
Niyah’s heart is undeniable, her voice is powerful. She expresses herself eloquently in words and passionately through movement, as a longtime avid dancer.
Unprompted, Niyah started a Kindness Club on her middle school campus, encouraging strong aspects of community and opening the door for fellow students to form otherwise unlikely friendships. The club prioritized quality time, walking the track field and striking up conversation with new faces, to start their mornings with positivity.
She loves to educate the club and her fellow students on what it truly means to be kind and the importance of showing kindness, especially in adversity and conflict. Together, they foster an inclusive culture of mutual respect throughout the school through team building and acts of kindness, like leaving encouraging notes on every fifth-grade students’ locker.
Late this winter, as the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the globe, Niyah’s school, like all others, was closed to limit exposure and slow the spread of the virus. Niyah leaned into her creativity during these unprecedented circumstances to help protect others from feelings of loneliness and isolation. Amid shelter at home advisories, she created a video with friends from school to remind everyone that we’re all in this together.
Niyah has always strived to make sure everyone feels equal, no matter what they look like or where they come from. As the US cries out for racial equality, Niyah, winner of the 2020 Racial Harmony Award, issued an online challenge for all to spread love, reminding society that “love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”