More Than a Club

More Than a Club

At Holmes High School, a group of students are finding their voice, making new friends and learning how they can have an impact.

Julie Wharton, the coordinator of the Community Learning Center at Holmes, started the You Matter Club for students who sometimes have a hard time fitting in. It also is a club for those who simply like to help others.

“The hope is to create a better world filled with purpose, empathy, compassion, and connection - showing that we all matter,” Wharton said.

Two students told others in the group that they didn’t feel they had any friends when they first enrolled at Holmes, until they met a girl who was part of the You Matter Club.

“She was able to hear how her outreach to new students impacted these two,” Wharton said. The group seemed to gel right away and are fairly comfortable opening up to one another, she said.

Wharton uses a practice from restorative justice sessions where participants sit in a circle to talk. The stories, voices and perspectives of all students are valued equally. The circle practice allows people to open up or just be part of the group and listen.

A student who rarely talks has found his voice in the group, she said. “He talked about issues important to him and how certain circumstances have impacted his life,” Wharton said. 

He felt safe and comfortable to share part of his story with the group, especially after others opened up.

“I hope this club continues to be a bright spot every Friday afternoon for those that need their voices to be heard,” she said.

As part of the group, club members will be learning about philanthropy through the Magnified Giving program, where they will explore non-profits and recommend awarding a $1,000 donation to one.

“I believe the You Matter Club is the perfect group to host the Magnified Giving program,” she said. “These students are passionate and care about issues." Wharton is excited to see the outcome of the program in spring.

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