Meet Student State Representative Kayla, Be Strong’s December 2022 Student of the Month!

“I’ve learned good leadership qualities from Be Strong, so I can work to uplift others and make their voices heard. I’ve built a platform so my advocacy can reach as many people as possible.”

Kayla is dancing her way through senior year with a positive mindset and determination to change the world. This Be Strong Student State Representative from Illinois excels in all facets of life — from academics to extracurriculars to her disciplined dance training.

But while Kayla chases success, she still experiences the mental health challenges affecting many students today. She meets these challenges head on with resilience.

“Senior year throws a lot at you,” Kayla said. “I try to have more breaks and times to myself where I can do something enjoyable and take time away from what’s frustrating me. I also do breathing exercises and mindfulness that helps me come back with a fresher mind and attitude.”

Kayla connects with other changemakers in her school and community through Be Strong. Reps can come together to support each other and work to overcome challenges at school and in their personal lives.

“Especially as a senior, going through life and high school, you’ll face many challenges,” Kayla said. “It’s important to know how to deal with those. Be Strong provides the resources we need through the App, meetings, check-ins, and mutual help. It’s a great support group and I feel confident in addressing any concerns I’m having and helping others.”

With the skills she’s learned from Be Strong, Kayla helps herself and her peers cope with stress and anxiety. Covid-19 drastically changed the way kids and teens have experienced school the last few years, and Kayla’s class is no exception. At the end of her freshman year, Kayla’s school went remote, and students have had to adapt to new ways of learning ever since.

“When the pandemic first hit, it was very impactful in terms of the way we learn and how we process information,” Kayla said. “Being on a screen for hours every day was hard. I did maintain good grades, but a lot of kids weren’t able to succeed without that face-to-face interaction. We worked together to adapt, and now that we’re back in person, we have more adjusting to do again.”

One of the greatest changes Kayla has experienced in her time with Be Strong is her approach to interpersonal relationships at school. Tensions can run high between students and teachers, but Kayla has learned to adapt her mindset and approach situations with positivity.

“Be Strong has helped me learn how to ease my frustrations,” Kayla said. “I would always get frustrated when something didn’t go my way. Now, I take a step back and think more positively. My teachers have noticed the change, too, and they appreciate how I’m able to reframe negative things into opportunities. Failure isn’t a mindset, it’s a chance to learn and grow.”

But not every kid enjoys positive, open communication with their teachers or adults in their lives. Students are more likely to talk to their peers about struggles they’re facing — and Be Strong serves as a safe community for them to be themselves and speak openly.

“We get a chance to have our own opinions, and Be Strong creates a safe place to give perspectives,” Kayla said. “I really like listening to others’ opinions, both people who think like me and people who don’t. What we all have in common is we want to make positive change in the world.”

Kayla’s positive change can be felt throughout her school and community. She spreads her energy across many passion projects, building on the values she’s developed from Be Strong to uplift other girls through many initiatives. She hopes to leave a strong legacy as a role model and hard worker.

“My work ethic is what I’d like to be remembered for,” she said. “People may not realize the behind the scenes work it takes to succeed. I want to show people that hard work is important, and we make sacrifices for things that are important to us. It’s always worth it to chase your dreams.”

To learn more about Be Strong’s free programs, email To nominate a student to lead change with Be Strong’s innovative student volunteer program, visit today.

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