Students Say: We Have Had Enough

On Valentine’s Day, along with the rest of the world, our students watched the horrifying events at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School unfold. Lead Up CEO, Julie Allen, gathered with our Senior Leaders to discuss what they were thinking and feeling, which led to a plan of action: Stand Up with Lead Up Against Violence.

Senior Leaders wanted to support the Florida students whose school community was shattered. They created a Book of Friendship to share with their Douglas peers and have since been gathering and compiling words of encouragement from high school students across the city of Lincoln.

Next, our Leaders challenged the community and their peers to the Leading with Kindness Challenge. They committed to remember the victims; not in a passive way, but by expressing care and compassion towards other human beings in their names. To hear Tawni talk about the challenge:


Projects like Stand Up With Lead Up are more than “just nice things to do.” They are foundational to embracing differences, building relationships, gaining broad perspective, conducting deep analysis, and communicating more effectively.  

Next month, students will facilitate peer-focused informational sessions with officials from law enforcement, mental health professionals and policy makers at the local, state and federal levels to talk about barriers to change and creative solutions to end gun violence.

The project, which kicked off in mid-February, will continue through April 20, National Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools.

Lead Up program prepares students for their next steps through tutoring, college visits, scholarship apps, career exploration, ACT prep – these are all important aspects, but they’re not the only ways in which we prepare them to reach their life, career and leadership potential. The Lead Up program also provides real-life interactions; giving students “people experience” in the kinds of settings that are going to be useful to them in the future.  Stand Up With Lead Up is one example.