#GivingTuesday Q&A: Meet the Founders of GenerationJOY

November 28, 2017 | BY Joyful Heart Foundation | FILED UNDER JHF BLOG >

Every year on #GivingTuesday, people around the world channel the spirit of gratitude and generosity by giving back to causes they care about. This #GivingTuesday, we are showcasing the work of two advocates making a difference for Joyful Heart: Sophia Schrager and Emma Kate Lasry, the founders of our GenerationJOY committee.

GenerationJOY is a group of next generation advocates committed to using their voices and resources to work toward fulfilling Joyful Heart’s vision of a world free of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. We asked Sophia and Emma why they support Joyful Heart and how anyone can make a difference.

Can you introduce yourselves?

Sophia Schrager and Emma Kate LasryEKL: Sophia and I both grew up in New York and we met in middle school. We became best friends in high school, where Sophia was focusing on raising awareness and funds for Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, and I started and led the Feminism Club.

We both went on to study at NYU. I studied at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study and Sophia at studied education at Steinhardt. I’m currently getting a master’s degree in the History of Art program at the University of Pennsylvania, while Sophia is working in events at a public relations agency.

What inspired you to get involved with Joyful Heart?

SS: This is a bit of a funny story. I heard about Joyful Heart the summer before I started college while reading a magazine with Mariska Hargitay on the cover. When it became time to apply for summer internships the following spring, I remembered Joyful Heart and, luckily, had a friend who was already involved.

What started out as just a summer internship quickly changed my life. All of a sudden my eyes were open to these shocking statistics that were no longer just numbers, but stories and faces of people I loved. My internship at Joyful Heart became a catalyst to starting this important conversation in my community.

EKL: Shortly after Sophia began her internship, she approached me with the idea of starting a junior committee for Joyful Heart. Five years later and here we are with GenerationJOY.

How do you live out Joyful Heart’s values and mission in your day-to-day lives?

EKL: To us, the easiest and most effective way to live out Joyful Heart’s mission is to continue to start the conversation about these issues in our communities. To be clear, starting the conversation doesn’t always mean discussing it at the dinner table, though that is a great place to start!

SS: I studied education in school, and I truly believe education is the answer to so many issues. If people talk about these issues more, it will ultimately remove the isolation and shame a lot of survivors feel and place the blame where it should lie: on the perpetrators.

You have taken on leadership roles to get younger generations involved in this work. How can young people be catalysts for change?

SS: Young people have more power than they realize. It really only takes one person to stand up and demand change for things to happen. Look at all the incredible things Malala Yousafzai has done. She is one person, but look at how much she has accomplished! My parents always used to tell me that all it took was for me to put my mind to something to make it happen.

EKL: All it takes is one person to say or do something to open up the conversation. After we started GenerationJOY, Sophia and I went to our high school and gave an assembly where we spoke about Joyful Heart’s work and GenerationJOY. The assembly led some students to create a Joyful Heart club at school.

Besides donating, how can someone get involved with Joyful Heart’s work? 

SS: I think it is most important to note that making a difference comes in all different shapes and sizes. Though donating money—a gift of any amount—is important for Joyful Heart’s work, it is not the only way to get involved.

EKL: There are many cool and fun ways to raise awareness for Joyful Heart. Below we’ve listed a few:

  • Start the conversation and educate yourself and your community.
  • Share Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram posts that help spread the word.
  • Give an assembly at your high school or college.
  • Run for the Joyful Revolution Athletic Club.
  • Host a screening of I AM EVIDENCE for your community.
  • Hold a bake sale (the best is when each customer doesn’t only help by buying a baked good, but leaves having learned something new about the cause).
  • Start a club in your community with others who want to actively make a difference in this issue-space.
  • Host an event or start a fundraiser!

Visit Sophia and Emma’s #GivingTuesday Facebook fundraiser for Joyful Heart or learn how to start your own.

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