Voting and Inspiring Change

Brea, an advocate and Educate Tomorrow Changemaker attending Grand Valley State University, writes about the importance of voting and being inspired to make changes for her community. 

Why is it important for young people to vote?

I believe it is important for young people to vote because as the years go on it is our
generations and the ones after us who will be living in the world. We as the upcoming
generations need to vote and make our voices heard because this world is going backward in
history. Everything that the generations before us fought so hard for is now being taken back
away from us without us having a say. When young people vote it not only shows the person
voting cares but is willing to put up a fight for our rights as well. My parents always told me that if you do not vote then you simply do not have a right to complain or be upset about what is going on because you did not express your rights when it mattered. If you did nothing to use your voice then you cannot use your voice now to express being upset. Young adults feel that their voice will not matter, but in reality, everyone’s voice matters and can create a difference.

Write about a time you felt inspired to make a change: 

In my lifetime there have been several times I have felt inspired to make a change, but
one that changed me was Teen Challenge. Even in my early stages of school like middle
school a few groups would come and talk to the school about their stories. Even with being so young, their stories were so interesting and touching. I grew up hoping one day I could work there or even volunteer there. In my second year in community college, my Introduction to Social Work class took a trip there and for me, it was one of the best educational trips I have ever been on; I enjoyed listening to their stories and seeing how far they have come.

After leaving there I did more research to fulfill my long dream of working there. Sadly I was told that they do not take anyone who hasn't gone through the program which was hard for me, but I didn’t stop there. Since I couldn't work there I wanted to know what I could still do to help and was told that many people in the program do not have family that visits them or sends anything. It gave me an idea, so during Christmas time, I handmade 78 Christmas cards for the men and women in the program; each one had a different Christmas picture and saying inside. On Christmas day I dropped them off knowing everyone would have a Christmas card to open. It may not be a life-changing experience to some people, but I believe for some it meant a lot to receive something on Christmas day.

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Fostering Success Michigan is a program of Educate Tomorrow that aims to increase access and success in higher education and post-college careers for youth with experience in foster care. Learn how you can contribute to building a holistic network that insulates (i.e., strengthens protective factors and reduces risks) the education to career "pipeline." 

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