We Rise Above (WRA) is a national student-led nonprofit that works to educate and prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence. The goal is to call attention to the issue and to provide a safe space by creating a welcoming and uplifting environment in which everyone has a chance to be heard.
Irvine’s local chapter, IUSD WRA hosts self-defense workshops. The group also hosts donation drives in support of OC Human Options. And, chapter members volunteer their time to help Laura’s House, which is a domestic violence shelter located in Aliso Viejo. Last fall, the IUSD WRA chapter created 70 packets of bracelets and cards that included inspiring messages for those staying at Laura’s House.
This year, the organization’s projects have been funded through a shared grant awarded by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to IUSD WRA and SAVS Waymakers.
On May 20th, Laura’s House honored the IUSD WRA chapter by presenting the students with the Brighter Futures Youth Award during the shelter’s annual luncheon at the Balboa Bay Beach Resort.
Upon accepting the award, the group’s president Katherine Yu said: “I founded IUSD WRA because I realized that schools weren’t teaching about sexual violence. Students are so well-protected, by the time we leave for college, we realize it’s a completely different world. It is so important for us to educate ourselves and our peers early on to keep us all safe and aware. Aware of the stories of resilient survivors. Aware of changes already made for the better, and changes that have yet to be made by our community and our government.”
The organization’s Vice President Nikki Jaberyzadeh added: “When we first learned about Laura’s House, we were so inspired by its mission and objective to support victims of domestic violence. We decided to reach out in hopes of collaborating, and we have been involved ever since participating in donation drives and volunteering at events. We feel that the work Laura’s House is doing is so important to our community. It’s vital for survivors to find a place where they can be supported and empowered.”
To learn more about this terrific student-led organization, visit their website by clicking here. You can also follow the group through their Instagram channel: @iusd.weriseabove.