Squirrel Hill Magazine Spring 2019

Page 31

CELEBRATES TEN YEARS Founder’s mission intensifies to create a more harmonious world

By Hilda Fu Memories are mostly pictures, colorful images that make up the mosaic of our years. As I look back on the past decade since the founding of Luminari,


is a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit organization founded to support and create activities for teens that broaden their minds, inspire innovations and promote community engagement through summer camps at the Ellis School. The target audience of the program is rising 8th to 12th grade. For an application or questions about the program go to www. luminari.org.

I see the faces of young people visiting national monuments, meeting with community leaders, presenting speeches, sharing meals together and sharing ideas with those who have different points of view. I started the organization in 2009, with the goal of broadening minds, inspiring innovation and encouraging community engagement through summer camps for teens. We started small and remain small, but like a pebble tossed into a lake, the ripples have a wide-reaching effect. But much has changed, in our region and across the country, since that first summer of camps. More than ever, I am troubled by the incivility and lack of respect in public discussions. I had not expected that ten years after the launch of Luminari, I would start to feel the acute need to double down on our effort to instill the sense of civility, and to make explicit and reaffirm our core values. Likewise, I could not have predicted the urgency we now face to step up our existing media literacy as a counter offensive to escalating “fake news” problems. It is not overstating things to say our democracy depends on the next generation’s ability to discern factual reporting from biased opinion and outright lies. These are the kind of provocative conversations we look forward to having with our next class of Luminari campers. We have another precious opportunity this summer to enrich the lives of those who join our programs. I can’t wait to engage with our teenagers to share with them the passion I have for all of our inspiring camps: I Want to be an Ambassador!; Camp Delicious!;

Speak and Tell!; and Teen Writer! What fun this decade has been for me, to stand amidst all this enthusiasm and energy. I’m more inspired than ever to join my team and our teens in this important work. Now, onward and, as the bright ripples flow, outward—to a kinder, more harmonious world. Hilda Fu is founder and president of Luminari.

Spring 2019 | 31



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