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Benji Janapol, Youth Observer, June 2014

Janapol: Youth observer on UUA board

Benji Janapol is serving a one-year term as the Youth Observer on the UUA Board of Trustees.
By Elaine McArdle

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Less than two years ago, Benji Janapol, of Mountlake Terrace, Wash., learned from a friend about Unitarian Universalism and joined Woodinville UU Church in Woodinville, Wash. Today, she is the Youth Observer to the Unitarian Universalist Association Board of Trustees, where she serves as liaison between the board and the General Assembly Youth Caucus. “I feel really called to leadership for youth and have for a long time,” she said.

Nearly halfway through her one-year term, Janapol, who turns 18 in January, has participated in the board’s in-person and teleconference meetings.

“It’s been really cool to see how everything works and to be a part of that process,” said Janapol, who graduated from high school in 2014 and is finishing off her associate’s degree before entering university next fall. She plans to be an artist and an American Sign Language interpreter. (She is already conversant.) “I feel really honored I get to sit at the table and speak and have people listen to me. I’m respected as a trustee and that in itself is a responsibility.”

“It’s really nice to be around people who are really open,” Janapol said about UUs. “It’s kind of anything goes, with a balance between being all open and clear boundaries with what we feel as humans is our job, to have equality and justice.”

Photograph (above): Benji Janapol, Youth Observer, speaks at the 2014 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association (© Nancy Pierce/UUA). See sidebar for links to related resources.

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