Papillon Youth Outreach is an interscholastic organization that strives to create an accessible, global platform for youth voices through projects such as podcasts and digital magazines. Spearheaded by President and Co-Founder Claire Song ’22, Papillon published the first volume of its magazine, “From, Youth,” on September 6.
“Our main mission statement that we came up with is celebrating the creators, activists, and leaders of tomorrow… Before I founded Papillon Youth Outreach, I would reflect on how youth rarely get representation in our society, whether that be through works of art, writing, photography, media, [or] just having our voices be heard,” said Song.
After coming up with the idea for Papillon during her Junior year, Song worked towards the official launch in April 2020. Papillon, the French word for “butterfly,” signifies the liberation of youth voices, according to Song.
“I proposed the name Papillon Youth Outreach because in French, Papillon means butterfly, so Papillon to me symbolizes freedom, and the action of breaking free of the cocoon of a butterfly… The cocoon symbolizes the social norms and stigma that our society may have surrounding youth, and the name of our podcast, ‘Out of the Cocoon,’ is like we are breaking free from the cocoon and amplifying the youth voices,” said Song.
According to Papillon’s website, the organization has attracted a diverse membership from six countries and 22 cities. Web Associate Dakota Chang ’23 sees Papillon as an encouraging and inclusive space for members to experiment and share their stories.
“[Papillon is] really good at letting people speak their narrative. They don’t censor anything… You can write whatever you want… Even the pictures they draw, it all shows a lot of personality. It’s really fun to see how diverse the directions can go,” said Chang.
Emily Xia ’22, an executive media director, believes that part of Papillon’s success comes from its monthly meetings. According to Xia, the meetings help build community and allow members to grow more comfortable articulating their ideas.
“I think Papillon has [made] me more confident about sharing because it has so many outlets to do so, and also allows me to connect with members who are just as passionate about showcasing youth’s work…. It’s not only a club to do a particular thing… but also a community where we can feel safe and share our thoughts,” said Xia.
In addition to selling magazines on Amazon and publishing podcasts on Spotify, Song is most proud of the confidence that Papillon instills within its contributors. Song looks forward to future publications and the chance to grow an even larger coalition of youth voices.
“Sometimes I will wake up to a text from one of our members saying how Papillon really allowed them to explore either their skill sets or really helped them in school to raise their hand and talk in class discussions, or just explore different identities within themselves and find their voices within society. I think that’s just really heartwarming because starting this initiative, I had this small goal of just having youth be more comfortable within society… and seeing that come to life has been a really large part of what I think is a success,” said Song.