Effingham County teenager Darius Scott’s drive to raise awareness of human trafficking makes a difference. We are proud to award Darius our Circle & Shield award, the Cingo way to honor the quiet heroes in our community.
Human trafficking is hardly an everyday topic of discussion among Savannah area high school students, or for that matter, anyone else in the community. Darius Scott, 17, is trying to change that.
“Researching the topic for a Rotary Club speech competition, I was shocked at the extent and cruelty of human trafficking around the world, even here in Georgia,” says Darius, who will graduate this month from South Effingham High School in Springfield, GA. “It’s so inhumane.”
“When I see faces of missing children on posters, I know they didn’t drop off the edge of the earth,” he says. “They are being used for something very wrong. They are being robbed of their childhood.”
Darius won the Rotary High School Speech competition a few years ago, but the $1,000 prize was just the beginning. His mom, Sonja Scott, put it to him plainly: “You’ve proved you can speak about it well, Darius. Now let’s see you put some action behind your words.”
That’s exactly what Darius did. To help generate the conversations that will enhance understanding, Darius hit upon the idea of rubber bracelets carrying the message. He started by handing them out at St. Patrick’s Day parades in Savannah for the last two years. From there the effort spread to block parties helping the homeless. Every bracelet meant one more person had been alerted to the problem.
Conversations continue in the halls of South Effingham High School, where Darius will graduate May 26. His generation seems eager to step up to serious community issues, so Darius doesn’t hesitate to involve as he informs. One simple story tells him he’s having an impact: “One teenager who had run away from home told me that after seeing one of the bracelets she realized what could happen to her,” Darius says. “I felt good about that.”
Not surprisingly, Darius intends to continue his efforts when he goes to Cornell University in the fall. In the meantime, he’ll have a busy summer training for the Junior Olympics in the triple jump and the long jump. Two years ago, he placed ninth, last year, fourth, and this year he hopes to win the gold. He also plans to do something special with the bracelets for the Fourth of July.
Darius’s family has helped him believe in himself. His dad, who runs a trucking company, and his mom, an evangelist and youth counselor, have encouraged his efforts to make his community safe. He wants to pass that confidence to his contemporaries.
“I want youth to know that we have potential,” Darius says. “We have the power to unite and change the world. If you set yourself apart and get involved, you will.”
About Circle & Shield
Cingo means to surround and secure — to protect. That’s what we do. And we have a lot of respect for those who take it upon themselves to make protection a part of what they do, too. That’s why we’ve launched Circle & Shield, our award to a member of the community who helps make the world a better place, a safer place.
Edward Miller is a coach who helps executives strengthen communication, leadership and strategic planning skills. He has been a journalist and author, an executive editor and CEO of regional newspapers, and a leadership and writing coach for organizations around the world.