Benji Janapol is serving a one-year term as the Youth Observer on the UUA Board of Trustees.
Nearly halfway through her one-year term, Janapol, who turns 18 in January, has participated in the board’s in-person and teleconference meetings.
“It’s been really cool to see how everything works and to be a part of that process,” said Janapol, who graduated from high school in 2014 and is finishing off her associate’s degree before entering university next fall. She plans to be an artist and an American Sign Language interpreter. (She is already conversant.) “I feel really honored I get to sit at the table and speak and have people listen to me. I’m respected as a trustee and that in itself is a responsibility.”
“It’s really nice to be around people who are really open,” Janapol said about UUs. “It’s kind of anything goes, with a balance between being all open and clear boundaries with what we feel as humans is our job, to have equality and justice.”
Photograph (above): Benji Janapol, Youth Observer, speaks at the 2014 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association (© Nancy Pierce/UUA).
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Elaine McArdle is a UU World senior editor and a member of First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon. An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she has also written for the Boston Globe, Harvard Law Bulletin, and others.
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