High School Students in Pittsburgh Create YouthHumanist.org

By Brian Magee

Two seniors at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, PA have created a first-rate online home for humanists and other non-theists with the creation of the website YouthHumanist.org earlier this year.

High school students Tara Lee and Noah Harchelroad started the online home for their “freethinker’s alliance” as a follow up to a humanist club at their school last year. “We held weekly discussions for students interested in freethinking topics like ethics, religion, atheism, morality, etc.,” Lee wrote in an email to Humanist Network News. “We decided to transform the club into an organization called Youth Humanist, and began the website youthhumanist.org over the summer. It features a forum and articles written by students (and a few adults) regarding freethinking, atheism, religion, ethics, and LGBT rights. It is frequently updated, and new articles go up practically every week.”

Youth Humanist as already expanded to a second Pittsburgh-area school, Fox Chapel Area High School, with hopes of adding more school groups, and not just locally. “We hope to connect students around the world with other freethinking minds,” the website announces.

“We hope to support young adults and students who may feel alone in their religious or non-religious beliefs, and to reach as many students as possible who are interested in reading about, or discussing freethinking ideas,” Lee declared. “So far, we have received positive responses from teachers at school and from students across the country who have stumbled upon our website.”

It is certainly not surprising to find a group like Youth Humanist, given that up to one-third of school-age teens and young adults in the U.S. are declaring themselves to be religiously unaffiliated. For this group to have formed so openly and easily is a positive sign that alternative voices when it comes to religious issues are being voiced—and heard.

The Youth Humanist staff includes Lee and Harchelroad as co-presidents, two public relations directors and six members of the editorial and staff writing team. They also have a Facebook page and Twitter account to help them “provide an arena where teens, atheist and otherwise, feel safe to voice their opinions concerning religious issues in this secular world, proving that an organization need no religious affiliation to contribute meaningfully to its community.”

Brian Magee is the communications associate for the American Humanist Association.