‘KidSpirit’ to Provoke Discussion on Sensitive Topics around Campus

Upon coming to Andover, Skyler Sallick ’17 was amazed by the wide variety of discussions about beliefs and cultures on campus. Witnessing this dialogue inspired Sallick to bring “KidSpirit,” a magazine and website focusing on issues related to race, gender and religion, to Andover this year.

With satellite editorial boards in New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Maryland, California and New York, “KidSpirit” allows young people to explore topics pertaining to spiritual development from a variety of perspectives, according to the publication’s website.

Sallick said, “[‘KidSpirit’] creates this inclusive forum for people between the ages of 11 and 17 to talk about life’s big questions and to explore spiritual development in some ways… it’s very much personal experience [because] you’re writing about making connections with what happens in your life and what happens in other people’s lives,”

Sallick first found out about “KidSpirit” from her brother, Greer Sallick ’14, who was on the board of “KidSpirit” at his middle school. Through discussions with her brother, she became increasingly aware of the wide variety of issues that students around the world face.

“Once I figured out that what we were talking about on campus was something that was similar to what ‘KidSpirit’ was talking about, and they kind of went really well together, I reached out to the founding editor,” said Skyler Sallick.

Sallick believes that “KidSpirit” will encourage students to open up and talk about issues both within and without the Andover community.

“We [still] have a lot of different things that we can talk about with ‘KidSpirit’ that really, with Andover, we don’t really talk about… for example, a few weeks ago I was at a conference and we did a panel and talked about… why it’s important to be involved in discussions about interfaith, which is something we don’t really talk about around campus,” Skyler Sallick said.

In addition, Sallick also hopes that the global nature of “KidSpirit” will offer Andover students a wider range of perspectives: in the last issue alone, the publication’s writers hailed from over 15 different countries.

“What we talk about is different than most of the world because ‘KidSpirit’ is so global and so inclusive so that there’s all these different perspectives that you wouldn’t otherwise see because of the Andover bubble issue,” she said.

As both the ambassador for the club and an editor for the magazine on campus, Sallick helps with the organization of everyone’s articles, plans the monthly meetings and reads through the articles before they are submitted to the magazine. When suggested themes are brought to the main editorial board stationed in New York for consideration and are later approved, the club at Andover writes about how the issue relates to problems on campus as well.

So far, Andover’s branch of “KidSpirit” has contributed several articles to the magazine and two of the articles have been published in “The Huffington Post,” Sallick said.

“I think that what we have going so far is really working. It’s giving students voices in something bigger than just Andover,” she said. Sallick said that more Andover students will become involved and provide new opinions and beliefs for “KidSpirit.”

“I think that’s something special that Andover can contribute to the magazine: the fact that we do talk every day and we are having all of these open conversations as a high school community… We can give a little something extra to the things that we write,” she added.