TeenSHARPies Emerge as Role Models

TeenSHARP scholars embrace their roles as transformative leaders. Alphina Kamara, a senior at Mount Pleasant high school, embodies that trait. She feels the responsibility of demonstrating efficacy, authenticity, and joyful leadership to her peers and the young, promising leaders of color who will follow her.  

When Alphina was a junior, she took on the nationally recognized GripTape Learning Challenge. GripTape is a vehicle for youth to create, implement an idea, topic or skill to which they’ve always wanted to learn or experience. This is a vehicle that they drive themselves.  Selected “learning challengers” are given up to $500 in financial support and access to a “Champion” to support them through their Challenge.  

Alphina states, “GripTape gave me a once in a lifetime opportunity by simply asking me one question which was, ‘what are you passionate about’ and then giving me creative freedom and the tools to make it come to fruition. That experience of creating a homeless banquet ignited a fire in me. For once, I realized that my age was a non-factor if I truly wanted to make a change. I expanded my sense of agency and confidence and determined to ensure my peers could also benefit from the same experiences.”

After completing her Challenge, Alphina has traveled the East coast on behalf of GripTape to increase interest in GripTape by sharing her experiences and helping other youth board members generate new ideas and awareness for the organization.  This year, 14 TeenSHARP scholars have been accepted to GripTape.

Alphina expressed how beneficial it was for her to complete the GripTape project in her TEDx Talk, click here to watch.