Griffin Thompson, 17, of Boiling Springs, South Carolina, a senior at Boiling Springs High School /Spartanburg County Early College High School, founded a nonprofit organization called “Lil Lifesaverz” dedicated to improving public health and youth health literacy in his community and throughout South Carolina, through instructional health curricula, CPR/first-aid training, free health screenings, and other health-focused events. “I am passionate about public health in my community,” said Griffin. This passion led him to volunteer at a free medical clinic, where he witnessed the inequities of American healthcare. “I saw people of all ages, walks of life, and cultural groups whose needs were not being met by the traditional healthcare system,” he said.
Griffin began researching public health issues, and after recruiting an education professor, a retired principal and a public health professional as mentors, he drafted a youth health literacy curriculum for at-risk teens which he taught locally and shared across the country. Then he established a 501(c)3 organization and authored another curriculum on COVID-19 prevention, which was shared with all public school districts in South Carolina. As his initiative gained momentum, Griffin built a website for his nonprofit and began preparing promotional materials, raising money, and attracting volunteers and partner organizations to help him teach CPR and first-aid to children, promote health literacy and conduct free health screenings and events in underserved areas. He is now planning a health fair for the spring of 2021 that will address the specific needs and interests of diverse communities in the Spartanburg area.