The following post was written by Carly Moulis, age 17. A student at Albemarle High School, in Charlottesville, Va., Moulis was a participant in the 2012 UUCSJ summer youth program.

Carly Moulis, far left, and other participants in the 2012 Youth Justice Training, Rosie Cohen, Hannah Brennan, and Jamey Harman.

All my life, I have been told I am lucky. Lucky to live in the USA, lucky to have the guarantee of food, safety, support, freedom, and love. I pitied people who suffered; I felt bad for them. I signed up for the Youth Justice Summit because this thought suddenly sickened me. Pity does not make life easier, and it won’t help someone get food on the table. But what if I had the courage to go out into the world and try to help? I had just finished my sophomore year of high school, and I didn’t really know what to do next. I was sick of the bubble I lived in, and I wanted to do something.

Soon enough I was on a plane, oblivious to what my next week would hold. I could never have prepared myself for the emotional experiences I would face in Boston nor the bonds of friendship I would make there. Being with other people who wanted to change things gave me courage I could have never found on my own.

Throughout the week, we learned about social injustice and how to combat it in our lives. Before I knew it, it was our last night and I had a choice to make. I had gained insight, credibility, understanding, love, friendship, and a changed view on the world.

Now, what should I do with all of this? I could go home, back to Virginia, and forget it all. Forget the pain I saw, forget the hunger, forget the sadness, forget the injustice — but that would mean I would also forget the love I saw, forget the beauty, forget the dreamers, forget my friends, and forget who I had become.

There is pain in our world, but there is possibility within it. I spent one week in Boston at the UU College of Social Justice, but it gave me insight for a lifetime.

Learn about the 2013 Youth Justice Trainings.

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