“Please quiet down for the announcement of the final three youth governor candidates. First...
From the Avocado Party, Aidan Blain”
Everyone screamed, jumping up- in fact, I grabbed Aidan and bodily lifted him into the air. After the initial excitement, we got rushed through the crowd, and i got to walk one of my closest friends- a complete stranger a few short weeks before- up the aisle. The amount of people who reached out, looking for a high five or a pat on the back or simply to be a part of the experience; the near physical power of the wave of cheering that was going during the entire call; pulling in the others on the campaign team into a near crushing hug. These events are imbedded within my memory, near perfect in their recall- which, considering i forget nearly everything, from homework to my birthday, is pretty impressive.
This was only one of the amazingly long list of unbelievable experiences i’ve gotten in youth and gov. Literal thousands of friends, untold number of laughs and inside jokes, and even a number of deep cries with loved ones. Over the past six months, this program has taken over my life in the best way, improving me as a person, creating meaningful relationships, and providing a safe place for me to develop my identity in a positive and reaffirming way. Coming from a family that was never overflowing with money, i’ve always seen financial support as something out of my reach- and so time, effort, and energy have replaced that for me. In those ways, i’ve given everything to youth and government: and i’ve received far more than i could ever put back into it.
That’s one of the amazing things about y&g. Whatever you put in, you gain far, far more. My friend and I started an organization to provide support and community for mixed race kids to find and develop an identity, and foster pride for who they are (yes this is a shameless plug- mixedlife.net). And yet youth and government was what provided us with our first ever supporters- and of the hundreds of people seeing what we make now, the vast majority are from y&g. As is the current executive team, and the people we are interviewing and providing resources, and the people we advertise to and spread the website- not a single one of the opportunities and amazing things i’d be doing now would be possible without youth and government. Being invited onto a TEDTalk, creating a strong portfolio to get into the colleges that i want to, creating the community that i rely on at all times and who provide me with the safety, comfort, and reassurance that i can impact the world; yes, you guessed it, is provided only because of my involvement in the program.
And not a single one of these things would be available without financial aid, without the money you donate to this amazing program. There's 3,500 delegates in this program, 3,500 experiences and amazing people to interact with, and your donation allows for over a thousand of them to have stories like mine, with all their different flavors of success, personal growth, and civic engagement. Your donation of 10, 20, 100 dollars allows for this program to continue, to provide opportunities for all youth of all backgrounds.
In youth and government, we pride ourselves on being inclusive. Race/ethincity, gender and sexual preference, political ideology all blend to create discourse. Please don't let finances be the factor that prevents inclusion, for my story and for the thousands like it.