Youth & Government has completely changed my life.
I am a fifth year delegate in California's Youth & Government program, and there's a reason I have come back year after year.
In the quiet suburb I call home, life can be a tad repetitive and uneventful. You wake up, go to school, hang out with your friends, have dinner with your family, do your homework, and repeat the next day. For most of the people I knew, the biggest concern was which school was going to win the next football game. I had a vague awareness of the outside world but my experience up to that point was fairly limited. I lived in a bubble.
I found Youth & Government when I was in 7th grade, intrigued by a flyer handed out by my Social Studies teacher. Before that year, our valley didn't have a Model United Nations Program, as there wasn't much demand for it. I walked into a broom closet of a meeting room with three other girls, curious about what was in store for us in the upcoming months. I was absolutely terrified, having never been away from my parents and sure that I wasn't going to know what I was talking about. I had no clue what to expect.
I came home after that first training weekend and would not. Shut. Up. I discovered so much about myself and the world outside my bubble. I couldn't stop talking about the training conference, and I was so excited for the next one. I met people from across the state who, just like me, wanted to help change the world. We discussed possible solutions to diseases, poverty, food shortages, pollution, and so much more. I finally felt like I had met "my people".
When I moved onto Model Legislature and Court, the high school program, I stepped outside my comfort zone even more. I ran and applied for positions, made new friends, wrote bills, gave speeches, and pushed myself to make the most of my experience in the program. I learned about the issues facing our state, nation, and world, and what we could do to help. I became more confident in my opinions and my speaking skills. And I brought that passion for change home with me and put it to use.
I got involved in local government, interned for a Congresswoman, organized a march, and led student groups. I found a way to make a difference and fight for a change in a town that used to seem so quiet and uneventful to me. The truth was that I was just looking in the wrong place. The place I had to look wasn’t out there, but within me. And I realized that I could effect change in the world by starting in my own community.
Every delegate has a different story. But we all have the potential to find our own unique voices in Youth & Government, and bring our experience back home so we can make a change where we live. Unfortunately, not all delegates have this opportunity as they are limited by their resources. By donating to the Future Leaders Campaign, you are giving opportunity to these delegates who are looking to make their voices heard. 100% of all donations go directly to providing financial assistance to delegates across the state so they too can be the change.