A Word From The Student Influencer President

by Jadine Vanderaar

I wouldn’t change my role as a Challenge Program Student Influencer for the world. This year has been tough in several aspects, as I’m confident most would agree.  Being involved with The Challenge Program has helped me overcome obstacles in ways that I had not anticipated. When I applied for an influencer position, I was simply seeking an opportunity to give back to The Challenge Program, which has provided me with an incredible amount of motivation throughout high school. I was particularly grateful for the two awards I had received from The Challenge Program, including community service and academic excellence awards. However, The Challenge Program has so graciously given back to ME‒ yet again! The experience I’ve gained as an influencer has been absolutely invaluable and far more fulfilling than I had ever expected.  

Being a Challenge Program Student Influencer has given me the opportunity to meet a group of like-minded friends and work closely with them. It is amazing how every influencer contributes his or her unique skill set to accomplish one common goal: to support The Challenge Program, for which we are all abundantly grateful. I have been inspired by the way we all put our heads together, each taking up individual tasks so that more students can be reached by The Challenge Program. For example, influencers with graphic design experience create social media posts and updates. Other influencers edit videos on behalf of those who are less familiar with video editing. As the President of the Student Influencer Group, I assist with organizing meeting agendas and leading virtual meetings. I also create TikTok posts since I enjoy filming social media content.  

Not only have I been able to practice skills I already possess, but I am constantly being presented with opportunities to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone by completing tasks that I am less familiar with. For example, I took the time to familiarize myself with some basic graphic design in order to create content for The Challenge Program’s Instagram story.  This allows me to develop new skills and broaden my horizon. Since social media is continually evolving and becoming increasingly integrated into our everyday lives, obtaining these skills will be extremely useful in the future. Overall, being part of The Challenge Program has allowed me to network by building connections with people with all sorts of amazing, diverse abilities.  

Even more impressive is that everything we accomplish is done completely virtually! I have truly come to realize how anything is possible with the proper efforts and actions taken.  Despite the challenges that individuals globally have faced all throughout the pandemic, we are finding ways to persevere and achieve incredible victories.  Being a Student Influencer for The Challenge Program has demonstrated this to me, providing me with opportunities to connect with others and gain new skills all while in the midst of the pandemic!