Darlington School: Senior Ventures Spotlight: Lauren Botwinik's Final Project
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Senior Ventures Spotlight: Lauren Botwinik’s Final Project

Lauren Botwinik | May 19, 2020 | 313 views

For my Senior Venture Project, I established a website called "Operation Homefront" dedicated to helping military teen youths cope with issues they may face while their parent(s) are actively serving in the military. 

The website I developed for military teen youths can be adapted to any group of latch-key pre-teens in Darlington’s community that may deal with challenges of loneliness and neglect because of circumstances outside their control. Through the Senior Venture Project, I hope to have helped these children, even within our immediate community, whether their parents serve our country across the globe with unwavering devotion, or are busy working to support their families. Since  military families are willing to devote themselves to protecting our freedom and our rights, then it is not only my duty but  honor to have helped these brave children as they aid their parents in fighting for our freedoms. Through this website I have provided a safe space where under-appreciated youth can learn healthy methods to face their daily struggles with confidence and patience. I have achieved this by developing a curriculum based on the triangle of health: mental, physical, and spiritual, that would be easily replicable by anyone perhaps through a website. The short-term goal of this project have provided kids the necessary tools to enable them to safely and healthily be independent of their parents for temporary periods, while instilling in them a foundation of healthy independence. Additionally, a long-term goal for this project was to make the curriculum part of existing, local non-profits in order to educate as many children as possible. Regardless of their external circumstances, by having empowered all children, they will have the tools to be independent to serve their community, whether that is their country while their parents are deployed or their siblings while their parents are at work, with a smile.

I come from a military background where I grew up with only one parent or no parents at home at times.  Most often, I would  have to plan my schedule as well as my sisters, along with meals, after school activities, TV time, (if I even had time to relax), etc. Understanding this issue first hand, I realized that this situation was much bigger than just military youth. My personal goal was to teach kids like myself the skills and habits they need to be healthy, happy, and confident in their life. Through the posts I developed, these pre-teens will be able to improve their own Mental, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual to a point where they feel confident in themselves. Ultimately, these kids should feel empowered to be who they are and to go for what they want. That is the goal of my project: helping others to find their own goal.

Even though there are many disadvantages to this current pandeimic situation, it turned out to be an advantage for my project for two main reasons: time and access. Not only did I have more free time that I could put toward my project but so did all my possible viewers. This website is easily accessible on all devices across the world Thus bringing me to second point access: I was able to work on it more than ever and get feedback from my peers too. Raising awareness within my own community and beyond through this time of isolation by connecting people with the resources and information available through my website.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my mentors. Thank you to Mrs. Jennifer Collins for all the time she spent setting up my website with me at the initial launch of the project as well as all the additional meetings and emails that were exchanged to follow. She taught me so much about picture rights, the importance of logos/branding, and most of all the importance of a seamless user interface. I truly appreciate her kindness when dealing with my frustration and bewilderment.

Thank you to Mr. Shorey and his patience with all my questions and random visits to his office in South Hall. His advice regarding what his own personal challenges have been being part of a military family have helped steer my content in a more impactful direction for my target audience.  There are not enough words to say just how much his mentoring me has meant with this project and in every other aspect of my life: THANK YOU!

I intend for my website to continue to serve the Darlington community and beyond to help any kid in need cope with the challenges life may throw their way. Specifically adjusting to the difficulty of higher education with the void of a parental or guardian figure: helping them to develop into independent, resilient global citizens. I hope to continue to work on this website throughout my time as a student, looking to pass on this “legacy” to the next ambassador of youth empowerment to guide this site into the future.

I hope you enjoy reading through my Operation Homefront website, and you will share it with those that could benefit from using it.