For the past 17 years, I've been fundraising for Youth and Government ("Y&G"), trying to spread the good news of a community where teens--urban and suburban and exurban and rural, religious and atheist, wealthy and working class, and everyone in between--work together with purpose and respect.
Before Y&G, I was just a bouncing ball of unrealized ideas: a kid passionate about governance and justice and a million causes, ignorant of how to put pen to paper. Through Y&G, I gathered with dozens at home and thousands across the state who practiced open-minded debate and loving generosity, regardless of how much we eviscerated each others' politics on the floor. Before I turned 18, I already had advocated in the California Supreme Court, lobbied up and down K street, and chaired legislative committees. I doubt I'd have my fulfilling legal career and supportive, fierce relationships without the strong foundation my peers and advisors built for me half a lifetime ago.
The financial support of complete strangers--my predecessors--funded scholarships that allowed me to not just participate in Y&G, but also represent the great state of California at national YMCA conferences, brushing elbows with evangelical Texans and Alabamans who felt far more foreign than any teacher or strawberry-picker or longshoreman I'd met back home. Without their donations, I might never have learned my talents or found my calling. I can't imagine a better environment in which I could have developed them.
It's 2019 (I started doing this in 2003(!?!?!?!), and your donation will mean the world to a kid navigating these 2019 seas, who will thrive where indness and truth are imperative. My fellow Y&G alums--my friends, my family--have grown into adults with all sorts of jobs: parents, lovers, teachers, lawyers, bartenders, actors, writers, activists. But regardless of paycheck, every single one is realizing her potential as a person engages with her community, who listens more than she soapboxes.
Democracy needs our hopeful, tentative teens to grow into kind, active adults. Your donation helps us get there. Please give what you can. Thank you!