Because Hilton Head Christian Academy student Gracen Denton is already admired for her artistic talents, academics, and giving heart, it was no surprise when she recently launched a service initiative.
Denton is now handcrafting stylish necklaces to promote awareness and funding for an end to human trafficking.
Fittingly, her inspiration was well-known 2004 Christian Academy graduate Tierney Short Ducharme, senior field communications manager with The International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that helps local authorities protect the poor from violence.
The IJM global team includes hundreds of lawyers, investigators, social workers, community advocates and other professionals at work in 17 field offices.
Denton first learned about the critical issue of human trafficking four years ago when her mother told her about the End It movement and raised her awareness of modern day slavery.
The End It movement has become very important to her. "I realized that slavery is still a huge thing," she said. "In fact, there are 27 million people in some sort of slavery. No one should own another person. It is real and it is wrong."
Denton's brand and logo, G on the X, signifies her realization that a time comes for everyone to take their place and stand up for something. The "x" refers to the mark on a stage where performers are asked to stand to speak, while the "g" is her first initial.
When asked about her crafting abilities, Denton explained, "My mom and I make the necklaces together. I have always tried to make new things and be creative."
At just 11 years old, Denton is already giving her time and talents for a greater purpose. "I hope that people wear the necklaces and start a conversation about slavery."
What does she want to do when she is grown? The soon-to-be middle schooler giggled and said, "I don't have a clue what I want to be! I just want to stand up for what I believe in."
Denton's necklaces are for sale for $15 and orders can be placed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A portion of the proceeds go to an End It affiliate.
Erin Laytham Lentz is a local freelance writer.