San Diego Family March 2021

Page 18

Cherie Gough

Courage and Conviction Meet four young women sparking change and unity Last year youth nationwide rose up as leaders, despite personal and societal difficulties. In honor of Women’s

History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8), we’re highlighting four local young women working hard to create opportunities and shine a light for others. They honor veterans, combat racial disparity and create unique support systems for peers. I spoke to these young role models about their inspiration, work and plans to continue making a difference in San Diego and beyond.

Sophia Righthouse, 18 Founder, Valuing Our Veterans At age 12, Sophia Righthouse loved listening to neighbor Tom Lingley’s stories about the U.S. Navy. “He was an amazing role model who pushed me to strive for my dreams,” she says. Recognizing veterans’ often overlooked sacrifices, Righthouse wanted to honor Lingley’s service. She asked if he’d like a flagpole installed in his yard to display a U.S. flag and a U.S. Navy flag. He responded with a resounding yes. Working with the Miramar Young Marines, a leadership program of which Righthouse has been a member since age 8, she raised money through GoFundMe and local organizations such as the Elks and Town Councils. Her act of kindness for one neighbor blossomed into a passion project. Sophia founded “Valuing Our Veterans,” a program that seeks out veterans, listens to stories about service and offers them the opportunity to be honored by a platoon with the installation of a flagpole and a flag-raising ceremony. “It brings them joy to be recognized openly in the community,” says Righthouse. If you know a San Diego County veteran who would like a flagpole, email for more information. Righthouse received the Young Marine Distinguished Order of Merit (the highest award a Young Marine can earn) for her efforts. She was also recently awarded a national scholarship, which includes the opportunity to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima. She will accompany WWII veterans for the Reunion of Honor, which commemorates the Battle of Iwo Jima. Currently a senior at Westview High School in Rancho Peñasquitos, Righthouse created an online platform for Young Marines to connect and learn. Over 1,000 members nationwide have met virtually, participating in Zoom sessions and PowerPoint presentations about leadership, fitness, history and science. Learn more about the Young Marines program at

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