Aside from my own personal experience, the SSA truly changes lives across the US. Here I offer you proof of what a difference they make at the high school level:
This was written by Daniel Koster, leader of the Wekiva Atheist and Secular Alliance (WASA, a high school affiliate of the SSA).
Very often when I used to tell people at my school that I was an atheist, they would ask me what “atheist” meant. So I would explain it patiently, and they would seem shocked that there could be someone who doesn’t believe in a god. This seemed baffling to me. How could someone who commits oneself so deeply to a belief have no idea that there are people who hold a differing belief? It became jarringly apparent that the idea of nonbelief was something that simply was not a part of people’s consciousness at the school. The dangers of this were apparent. For one, it would never occur to people that religious displays were inappropriate at school if they believed everyone to be religious. But even more basically, secularism is a vitally important part of our modernizing world. It was time for consciousness to be raised.
My school has about 2400 students. Secular Student Alliance did them all a great favor by helping us put atheism and secularism into everyone’s consciousness. Even putting the word “atheist” on our daily announcements was a huge step. People took notice. Then people started talking. I regularly get reports to the effect of “we talked about your club in our class today.” Those who would otherwise have remained blind to our existence were now thinking about us. Maybe they would go home and think about the idea of not believing in a god. Maybe that would lead them to think a little more about their own beliefs.
Without Secular Student Alliance, I never would have started the club for fear of resistance from administration, and I would never have gotten my friends to join the effort. They told us exactly how to do things right and gave us the assurance that, whatever happened, I could call upon them to fix it. Since we became an affiliate, they’ve given us awesome stuff by the boxful and a substantial grant to cover travel to the legendary Reason Rally. The experience has been fantastic for the group and me. But I think the service they have helped us do the school has been even greater. Together, we have made the school think just a little bit more. Who knows what good may come out of it?
This is post 14 of 49 for Blogathon.
Total donors is at 226 (if we hit 300, campers get to pie us in the face)! That link also has some other ideas for pledging for Blogathon. 🙂
You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA! SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!