Her sophomore year, Isha Dalal, a student at Trumbull High School, started volunteering for New Haven Reads, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy. She loved reading to her students, and watching them light up when they finally figured out how to pronounce the word they kept stumbling over. However, she noticed that there were so many students that did not have the same opportunities that she had growing up. As a result, she really wanted to contribute on a larger scale, but she wanted to figure out how to incorporate all of her interests.
For example, she had also fallen in love with Mock Trial, a civics club at her school, so she decided that she would use legislation as the route to help create a better future for her community. To take it one step further, she wanted to involve others who felt the same way she did: specifically, students. She wanted them to know that they could do anything they set their minds to despite their age, their interest, or their background. She decided that she wanted students to pass a law at the state level.
After contacting the Commissioner of Education, she worked with Stephen Armstrong, the Social Studies Consultant for the State Department, to build a program from the ground up and turn her idea into a reality. She met with many of her community leaders such as her Superintendent, members of the State of Board of Education, the ACE Foundation, and the Secretary of State’s Office to create a program for students, by students. This program would allow students to organize events throughout the entire state to promote their cause, all with the goal of passing a law in the next legislative session.
Her favorite part of creating this was meeting many different students and leaders who truly cared about making education accessible. With over 60 students in the program from every corner of the state, she can't wait to see the amazing future that both the program and Connecticut have! The students truly represent diversity in every aspect. Everyone has fantastic ideas and contribute to the program in unique ways as they bring their determination, drive, and interests to the table. With the program being a mix of science, community service, and social studies, there is a place for everyone who wants to be involved.
How did it come to be?