Homeschooling Teen’s 15 Forces for Change

As you’ve probably heard, the Duchess of Sussex guest-edited British Vogue‘s September 2019 issue titled “Forces for Change.” The special edition is available in newsstands and digital download. Meghan Markle personally hand-picked 15 inspirational women to appear on the front cover – all of whom she thinks are contributing to the global good by “raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice, and open mindedness.”

Here at Homeschooling Teen, we decided to do the same thing.

Homeschoolers are an extremely diverse group of individuals – and it seems their ambitions know no bounds. They grow up to become artists, athletes, musicians, scientists, writers, entrepreneurs, politicians – whatever their dream or passion is in life. Given the freedom to fully develop their unique skills and talents, homeschooled teens and young adults can really make a difference in the world!

Here we feature 15 female homeschoolers committed to 15 different causes, which we believe live up to the standards of being “Forces for Change.”

Lila Rose – Pro-life advocate and human rights activist.

Lila Rose, president of the pro-life group Live Action, is on a mission to help transform people’s hearts and minds when it comes to abortion. Homeschooled through high school while attending a Christian school and junior college part-time, Rose was only 15 when she founded Live Action in 2003. After enrolling in UCLA, she started a pro-life student magazine, The Advocate, which is now distributed to over 300 high school and college campuses nationwide. Rose’s undercover campaigns at Planned Parenthood centers across the country have exposed staff breaking laws, covering up abuse, and giving out inaccurate medical information. Rose believes “anyone can change” – and indeed, faced with the facts about the abortion procedure, many people who were once pro-choice have become forces for change in the abortion industry.

Bethany Hamilton – She brought new meaning to the phrase “unstoppable.”

An avid surfer since age 8, Bethany started homeschooling after sixth grade so she could devote more time to the sport. On October 31, 2003, while surfing near her home on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii, a tiger shark attacked her, severing her left arm. Less than a month later, the teen returned to surfing with an unbelievably positive attitude. Overcoming all odds, she went on to win several professional championships, get married, and have two children. She launched her own foundation, Friends of Bethany, to support shark attack survivors and traumatic amputees, and she is a spokesperson for Beating The Odds Foundation and Foundation for a Better Life. Bethany is also active in the Women’s Sports Foundation, Walking on Water, Life Without Limbs, and Christian Surfers. How is Bethany Hamilton a force for change in the world? The story of her determination to rise above adversity and turn tragedy into opportunity has inspired millions of girls, boys, women and men to never give up and to be an encouragement to others within their own spheres of influence.

Hilde Lysiak – Teen reporter calling for truth in journalism.

Hilde, 13, is a homeschooled journalist and the youngest member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Hilde was invited to give the commencement speech at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media on May 10, 2019 – possibly the youngest person to ever address a college graduating class. Hilde encouraged graduates to become forces for change in the journalism field by staying “laser focused on the truth.” In her inspiring speech, she declared “WE are the generation of reporters who will choose to have our loyalty to one thing and one thing only— to the truth. To the facts. To uncovering corruption — wherever we find it. . . . WE are the generation that can restore the people’s trust. We aren’t the pro-Trump reporters. We aren’t the anti-Trump reporters. We aren’t the left-wing reporters. We aren’t the right-wing reporters. We are the generation that will be known simply as REPORTERS. If you do these things, I believe that history will look back on this moment not as the last dark days before the profession of journalism died, but as the new beginning.”

Jaime Herrera Beutler – U.S. Representative, advocate for mothers and children.

This Latina Republican Congresswoman was listed by TIME Magazine in October 2010 as one of 40 rising stars of American politics under age 40. Jaime was homeschooled from first through ninth grade in Southwest Washington. “My parents taught me God first, family second, and service to community a close third,” Jaime said. In 2001, she performed 2000 hours of service at Ground Zero in NY. Jaime graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in political science and communications. She interned in the Washington State Senate and in Washington DC. By age 29, Jaime was serving in the Washington State Legislature. She was elected to the 112th Congress, notably the first homeschooled member of U.S. Congress in recent history, and the first Hispanic in history to represent Washington State in the U.S. House. She has served since January 2011, having been re-elected four times. The ninth woman in history to give birth while serving in Congress, she gained national attention when her daughter was born without kidneys. Her husband is a stay-at-home father to the couple’s two children. Meanwhile, Jaime’s experience has helped her become a leading expert in Congress on maternity care issues, and a tireless advocate on behalf of mothers and infants.

Sarah Fowler – The first homeschooler to serve on a State Board of Education.

At age 23, this homeschool graduate from Rock Creek, Ohio, beat an education law attorney and a chemist to win a nonpartisan seat on the Ohio State Board of Education. “Neither of them was willing to represent the entire field of academic options in Ohio,” said Sarah in explaining why she chose to add her name to the ballot just two days before the filing deadline and 92 days before the election. Few expected her to do well, let alone win, and yet Fowler won by a landslide, receiving 60 percent of the vote and even defeating the teacher’s union-endorsed candidate by a wide margin. The first homeschooler in the nation to serve on a State Board of Education, Fowler was elected to the board in a November 2012 special election to fill an open seat and took office in January 2013. Sarah was re-elected in 2014 with overwhelming support in a four-way race. She is an ardent supporter of parental involvement in their children’s education, local control of public schools, and school choice. Sarah has also taken an active interest in legislation impacting education policy, and she is currently running for Ohio State Representative. She credits her parents and grandparents for instilling in her the valuable life lessons of hard work, respect, loyalty and love for God and others – and her experience shows that anyone can be a force for change in their community.

Madelyne Brown – Investing in the education of girls in India.

Madelyne had the privilege of spending two months at Zamar Academy in Chennai, India, witnessing the amazing work God is doing in the lives of the girls in this school. For over 12 years the school has worked to enrich the lives of children in the area, saving many from the ravages of poverty through nutrition, education, and spiritual training so they can become forces for change. “The Zamar staff is dedicated to providing every child with an education which continually challenges them to make goals, reach for dreams, and opens to them a world that needs their beautiful hearts and minds even more desperately than they need us to gain access to that world.” Madelyne took it upon herself to raise the necessary funds to supply Zamar’s library with 3,000 books. She managed to raise $9907.57 of her $11,000 goal. Zamar Academy is working with an Indian publisher to choose suitable books valuable to the math, science, and business related education of their high school students. Madelyne described them as “beautiful and tough young ladies who will lead others in making an impact on our world” – and she helped provide the resources for them to do so.

Marli Tague – International missionary focused on evangelism and social justice.

Marili is a great example of a motivated student who didn’t let school get in the way of her dreams. Through the Lumerit Scholar program (at that time it was called College Plus), Marli Tague earned dual credit for high school and college while being homeschooled and participating in international missions work. “My biggest dream is to be a missionary in a third world country focusing on evangelism and social justice,” said Tague. In the middle of the school year, she was able to go on a medical missions trip to Southern Sudan. She helped give IVs and valuable nutrition to the impoverished Sudanese people, while interviewing staff and writing a research paper on the problem of malnutrition in children of Sudan. Marli shows that you can finish high school, start college, and change the world all at the same time.

Jamie Grace Harper – Christian singer helps others via a charitable foundation.

Jamie Grace and her sister were educated by their mother at a time when few black families homeschooled. Mrs. Harper taught them how to read using the Bible and encyclopedias as textbooks, and gave them math lessons in grocery aisles. While encouraging them to explore new things and become lifelong learners, Mrs. Harper also wanted to tap into her daughters’ gifts, which for Jamie Grace meant writing songs and scripts. After bring diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, she created a YouTube account and began posting videos of her songs online. Through her music and words, Jamie Grace hoped to encourage kids who have Tourette’s and other struggles in life. In 2010, TobyMac discovered her songs on YouTube and signed her to his label. She won the 2012 Dove Award for New Artist of the Year. Now 23 years old and married with a newborn baby, Jamie Grace continues to be a light in the lives of others. The Jamie Grace Foundation provides opportunities for children and families in communities that may otherwise be looked down on or simply looked over. Jamie Grace said “what if we all took the time to intentionally think about others before thinking about ourselves” – then we could all be forces for change.

Emily Bear – Her performances raise funds for multiple charities.

Emily never thought of herself as a child prodigy, but her exceptional musical talent was apparent from an early age – not only could she play the piano, she could compose songs! At only 6 years old, she was the youngest person ever to win the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. Homeschooling gave her the freedom to practice piano, write and arrange compositions, practice jazz improvisation, study film scoring, and perform at concerts around the world. Her mentor Quincy Jones said, “there are no limits to the musical heights she can reach.” Emily is committed to using her talent to help others, so she’s developed a mission statement for her work. She only does projects that inspire, that she can learn and grow from, and that allow her to give back. She has already helped raise millions for charities across the globe through her performances. For example, in February 2019, Emily played with the World Doctors Orchestra in Israel to benefit Save a Child’s Heart. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from her CD sales are donated to charity foundations such as Ronald McDonald House, Cancer Charities, PAWS Pet Rescue, and children’s hospitals in LA and Chicago.

Juliette Turner – Educating youth across the country about the US Constitution.

Juliette is the author of the best-seller Our Constitution Rocks (2012), Our Presidents Rock (2014), and That’s Not Hay in My Hair (2016). The homeschooled daughter of actress and conservative talk radio host Janine Turner, Juliette is a self-proclaimed history nerd. She aims to help her peers understand the importance of the US Constitution and gain a deeper understanding of the document, saying: “It is of utmost importance for kids, the future generation of America, to understand the relevancy of our Constitution, the law of the land. It is America’s road map and guide and without reverence and a working knowledge of it, we will lose our country.” From 2017-2018, Juliette served as the National Youth Director of Constituting America, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to teaching America’s upcoming generation about the Constitution. She has served as a summer intern in the office of Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), as well as in the office of Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX). Juliette is currently attending Rice University, where she is studying English, Philosophy, and Business. In addition to speaking about the Constitution, she also speaks on topics such as how to resist drugs and alcohol in a substance abuse culture, and how to maintain faith in a secular society. Juliette’s mom is the Founder and Co-President of Constituting America, so they work together as forces for change inspiring students and adults across the country to learn about the Constitution and, in turn, empowering them to effect change through the legislative and amendment process.

Mandalynn Carlson Anti-bulling activist and positive self-image advocate.

Mandalynn is an award-winning actress and screenwriter, perhaps best known for her role in the 2011 action biopic Machine Gun Preacher, which was her first film. Her subsequent appearances include many indie films and TV shows, including “Gray’s Anatomy” as Jessica Tanner. She has always been an outspoken activist against bullying, as she personally suffered at school, which persuaded her parents that homeschooling was a better way to go about their daughter’s education. While being homeschooled, she was a straight-A student and started college at age 15. Mandalynn strives to communicate to young girls the idea of self-image, and has written articles on the topic. She visits underprivileged children in the Watts projects, supports Ronald McDonald house of Pasadena fundraisers, and visits chronically ill children at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Mandalynn is a force for positive change simply by being a nice, kind-hearted person, and inspiring others to do the same.

Sarah Mally – Founder of Bright Lights discipleship ministry for girls.

Sarah (above left) is a single young woman with a heart for girls. In 1996, the homeschool graduate started Bright Lights, a discipleship ministry in her living room with the goal of encouraging young ladies to Be Radiant In Godliness, Holiness and Testimony. Now there are over 750 Bright Lights groups in 47 states and 18 countries. Sarah challenges girls to identify the root issues behind struggles they face, to seek the Lord with all of their heart, and to use the years of their youth fully for Christ. Sarah is the author of Speak Truth in your Heart and Before You Meet Prince Charming. Her sister, Grace (above right), is the author of Will Our Generation Speak? A Call to Be Bold With the Gospel. The two sisters frequently speak at girls and women’s events, mother/daughter conferences, and homeschool conventions. They are both forces for change – on a mission to shine the bright light of Jesus to the world.

Susan Wise Bauer – Best-selling author, educator, and historian.

Susan Wise Bauer was homeschooled along with her brother and sister in the 1970s – the “dark ages” of home education. Susan’s parents taught her at home for most of elementary and middle school, and all of high school. She learned Latin at age 10 and entered college at age 17 as a Presidential Scholar and National Merit finalist. She finished her B.A. in five semesters with a major in English, a minor in Greek, and a summer spent studying 20th century theology at Oxford. She completed her M.A. in English language and literature at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, and she received her Ph.D. in American Studies from William & Mary in 2007, with a concentration in the history of American religion. She also earned a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary. From 1994 until 2010, Susan taught writing and American literature at William & Mary. Millions of readers of all ages love her series The Story of the World, a lively and engaging narrative history that’s fun to read. Her book on The Story of Western Science guides us back to the original texts that have changed the way we think about our world, our cosmos, and ourselves. Bauer co-authored The Well-Trained Mind with her mother Jessie Wise, and wrote The Complete Writer series on teaching writing. Susan’s newest book is Rethinking School: How to Take Charge of Your Child’s Education. Her books are best-sellers among parents who want to impart to their children a classical education, inspiring a whole community of followers and changing the way students are taught.

Olivia Bennett – Art prodigy dedicated to helping others.

Olivia Bennett is a nationally recognized art prodigy who found her unique artistic gift after being diagnosed with cancer at age 5. While battling leukemia as a child, her one and only respite was painting, which she did for hours on end. Olivia’s talent blossomed with a passion, and her work received almost immediate critical acclaim. She sold her first painting at age 8 and had her first art show at age 10, where she sold 24 paintings. Olivia was homeschooled through high school in a program offered by Texas Tech University, so she could “just drop everything and paint” whenever she was in the mood. Her colorful floral and wildlife paintings have even been compared with such masters as Georgia O’Keeffe and Claude Monet. As a cancer survivor, Olivia dedicated her art to helping others suffering hardships whether from illness, hunger, or poverty. In 2003, Olivia was named “One of Twenty Teens Who Will Change the World” by Teen People Magazine for her philanthropic work. Today she is involved in many local and national charities, non-profits, and Christian ministries with a special emphasis on children’s health and childhood cancer.

Jordin Sparks – Singer/actress contributes to many non-profit causes.

Jordin is a is a singer-songwriter and actress. She rose to fame in 2007 after winning the sixth season of American Idol at age 17, becoming the youngest winner in the series’ history. On her American Idol biography, she thanks her parents, grandparents, and God for her win. Jordin’s grandmother started homeschooling her in 2006 so she could better concentrate on her singing. The multi-talented star was known to be full-figured in the early days of her career, as she had a lot of food addictions that caused her weight to spiral out of control. Not only did she love potato chips but she also loved gummy bears, chocolate, and her mom’s home cooked food. But after her American Idol win, she lost 50 pounds in 18 months by making her health a priority. HealthyCeleb.com called it “the most impressive weight loss goal attained by a Hollywood star.” When speaking about her diet to Access Hollywood, Sparks said, “I’m making healthier decisions like instead of a bag of chips for a snack, I’ll see if I can find an apple. I’ve also upped my intake of vegetables and I’m drinking a lot more water.” So if she can do it, you can too. Sparks has contributed to many non-profit causes since even before her appearance on American Idol. Her most recent endeavor, the “I’m M.A.D. Are You?” campaign started in 2009 to cultivate community advocacy and volunteerism among teens and young adults. M.A.D. stands for Making A Difference. Her goal was to motivate others to find something they’re passionate about, maybe get a little “mad” about it, and funnel that energy into doing something positive to help another. After getting married in 2017, now she’s a busy mom to a 14-month-old son. “He teaches me lessons and he shows me areas that I need to work on in myself all the time. And I think that’s a beautiful thing.” Yes, even parents and their children can be forces for change!

forces for change

You, too, can be a force for change! That’s why the bottom image is meant to represent a mirror, so you can see yourself as a “force for change” as well. We can all make a difference no matter how small. What causes are you passionate about? What changes do you want to see in the world? What have you already done to help improve your family or community? Send your motivational #ForcesForChange stories to mail@homeschoolingteen.com so you can be featured in a future issue!

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