Youth for Politics

Breaking the barrier for a political breakthrough.

Photo of Sophie Howery
8 2

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

January 4th, 2003

Where are you located:

McLean, VA 22101

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Facebook: Sophie Howery
Instagram: sophie.mh9

Date Started

Today!

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Young members of society are often excluded from political engagement despite the large role they play as constituents and future voters. After attending multiple political events, I realized that it can be overwhelming for any young attendee to engage with others and spark connections. Youth for Politics hopes to close the awkward generation gap between the youth and older audiences to ensure maximal political engagement and impactful change.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

In order to increase political participation and opportunities among the youth, I intend on implementing a three-pronged plan which includes: digital resources, networking events, and school presentations. While we are currently in the development stage, one aspect of our project includes our website (to be released) where one's local representatives and their duties and significant views will be outlined along with ways to get involved in one's community through canvassing, internships, etc. Another solution includes planning networking events. Starting out in the DC Metro Area and then expanding throughout the nation, these events will remove the barrier between local representatives and the youth by allowing an approachable experience for both parties. Attendees can expect to discuss issues and solutions to problems in their communities and network with other changemakers. Lastly, we plan to collaborate with secondary schools by presenting how to understand local politics beyond textbook explanations and outline ways to increase political engagement. Using these three methods, we hope to create an environment where any young member can become engaged in any way they see fit.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Given the multitude of resources offered by Youth for Politics, there are many ways to get involved. One way includes accessing our website (to be released) where one can find a list of their local representatives with their contact information, a short biography, and an explanation of the role they play in government. Furthermore, people may get involved with YFP by attending one of our free networking events where young members of a community and their local representatives will be able to discuss pertinent issues and solutions. Furthermore, at our events, attendees may expect guest speakers and future opportunities to intern or volunteer with local representatives. Lastly, a school may either book us for a presentation or accept our request. At the visit, attendees can expect to learn more about their community and its local politics and discover ways to engage in their community.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

While many organizations empower young members of society to express their views by becoming advocates, there is an apparent barrier between the youth and government officials. Freedom of speech is and always will be the guiding principle of the US, however, it is often difficult for young people to find a platform or the means by which to get politically involved. Given the need for collaboration for lasting change, Youth for Politics will offer comprehensive resources for all young members of society to leave a unique and impactful mark on society with the support of government officials.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

As of now, we have not had the chance to make an immense difference given the recency of its development. In the future, Youth for Politics will measure its success in making a difference by responses to our project. The entire project is based on making political discussions and collaboration more enjoyable and accessible, so when we begin getting responses that we have changed someone's perspective on discussing politics or conversing with representatives, we will know that we are making a difference. Furthermore, we plan on knowing that we are making a difference by the number of people we can reach. The more people we reach through personalized school presentations or local networking events, the more politically engaged we are making our communities. Ultimately, the goal is to foster a generation of outspoken, tolerant, and engaged citizens making change with every step.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

While Youth for Politics is young, we plan on maximizing our connections early on. As of now, YFP has the potential to partner with VA Senator Wexton, VA Delegate Kathleen Murphy, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse-RI and others. Securing these partnerships will increase the reputability of YFP enough to give us a boost and rise to empower others. At the moment, we plan on headquartering in DC/ the DC Metro Area. However, we would look favorably towards expanding as soon as possible to reach as maybe people as possible, most likely starting on the east coast. Furthermore, YFP is planning on hosting its first networking event in late August as a back-to-school launch to get students thinking about the opportunities around them and to get engaged.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

Given the fact that this a fresh idea, Youth for Politics must first assemble a superb team to maximize outreach with team members in IT, PR, and more. Furthermore, the project will need funding to host networking events, create educational materials and resources, and for research. Most importantly, YFP's most crucial necessity at the moment is guidance and mentorship. While our mission is solidified, we need guidance as to how to get corporate/ additional funding, how to maximize publicity, and how to reach as many young members of society as possible. Furthermore, given the fact that the project will be working alongside both young people and government officials, YFP will need guidance as to how to increase reputability.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Youth for Politics' platform is focused on the collaboration among other young people making a difference in their communities. In the future, YFP would love to establish partnerships with Congress(wo)men and other government officials to allow mentorships for gifted young people ready to make change in their communities. Furthermore, YFP plans to collaborate with other Changemakers by consolidating networks and connections to offer as many opportunities as possible to our audience and vice versa for other projects. Next month, YFP hopes to establish a partnership with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse-RI with the goal of spreading our mission and reaching more young future changemakers. If chosen to participate in the Changemaker Lab, YFP will work diligently towards combining efforts to reach similar goals by establishing cross-project networking events to spread the mission of other projects while simultaneously increasing political engagement. Our project is all about collaboration and empowering young people to collaborate with their communities, so any opportunity to work with other Changemakers, YFP will gladly accept.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Word of mouth

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Fatima Shahbaz, Harvard '20

Attachments (1)

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Committee picture during a Crisis Simulation at a Model UN Conference in January 2018.

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Photo of Teresa Towey
Team

I love your idea to get young people excited about politics, and it make it accessible for them. Keep mobilizing your peers!

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