FELLOW OF THE WEEK: BETH GILLIG

Beth

Beth is a First Year Fellow serving at Stoughton Youth Commission as the

Leadership & Civic Engagement  Fellow!

1. What social justice issue are you most passionate about and why?

This may not be thought of as a traditional social justice issue, but I’m passionate about drawing people’s attention to stigma around mental health because it’s so embedded in society and can be overlooked. People with mental health problems face negative stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination, and stigma can keep them from seeking the treatment they need. We have to start addressing the misinformation and misunderstandings about mental health in society to create more accepting awareness and an overall healthier world.

2. What inspired you to do a year of service with MPF?

I serve as the adviser for the Stoughton Leadership Institute, where one of the main focuses is building leadership skills. When I was in middle school and high school I went to KY YMCA leadership conferences that let me discover my core values and learn how youth can be leaders in their community. Those conferences deeply inspired me and what I thought I could do, and helped me realize that I wanted to work with youth and inspire them to realize their potential as leaders.

3. Describe the greatest adventure you’ve had so far in life.

That would be India! I studied abroad there for four months my Junior year in college and it was a crazy and wonderful whirlwind. Every day had some kind of adventure, whether that was trying to survive the traffic and not get run over by a bus (they always win), taking bucket baths, going to Bollywood classes, casually biking past cows in the middle of the road, or eating with my hands off banana leaf plates. It made me reevaluate all the things we take for granted in Western Society, and I discovered that silverware and shoes are way overrated.

4. What have you done that you are most proud to have achieved?

That’d have to be graduating from college. I went to Grinnell, a small liberal arts school buried in the cornfields of Iowa, and though there were some challenging times it was also the most rewarding experience of my life.

5. Who is your hero?

I know this is cheesy, but if I’m being honest about who has shaped where I am today and exerted the greatest influence over my life it has to be my Mom. She has always been an incredible role model for me and demonstrates the most positive attitude I’ve ever known. She’s my support system, and I would not be who I am today without her!

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