Influencing policy-makers, legislators, politicians, and the people who work for them are among the activities for youth as lobbyists. With their unique insights, passion and wisdom, young people can guide and influence the political process in ways that adults can, helping elected officials and others make informed decisions that benefit everyone affected.
This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease.” — Robert Kennedy
Ways Youth are Changing the World through Lobbying
Grassroots Political Organizers — When young people organize voters, youth or others to influence politicians or the public, they are acting as grassroots political organizers. Young people can have specific views on politics or politicians, and can share their thoughts and ideas about specific legislation, too.
Youth Lobby Advisors — Working with adult lobbyists, lawyers, accountants and other professionals, youth advisors can motivate, inform, critique, examine and otherwise share their knowledge, ideas, opinions and wisdom about rules, regulations, policies, laws and politics. Informing the process of political development, they can impact the lives of their families, friends, younger people and broader communities in many ways.
Youth Lobbyists — When youth communicate directly with legislators, their employees or any branch of government where they make laws, legislation and other policies, regarding a specific piece of legislation and share their views on that legislation, they are lobbying. Lobbying can allow youth to affect social change on several levels throughout society.
Things Youth Need to Change the World through Lobbying
Education — Learning about the political and governmental systems that affect their lives in countless ways every day can be an empowering, engaging thing for young people. Before they can vote, youth can advocate to elected officials about their opinions, share their community concerns and ideas, and otherwise learn to transform politics.
Inspiration — With stories of social change becoming more available through the internet, its important for young people to have inspiration and motivation to take action in politics. Inspiring stories can come from people youth can relate to, including age, gender, socio-economics, education levels, and other identities, as well as people from different perspectives and identities.
Mentors — Youth/adult partnerships focused on political mentoring can build the ability of young people to lobby for themselves while helping adults ensure sustainable support for the issues they care about today and in the future.
- International Guide to Lobbying for Youth Representation at the United Nations General Assembly by Christine M. Cassar
- “What is Lobbying?” by Washington State Youth and Government
- “Advocacy -vs- Lobbying” by Marion County Commission on Youth
- “Lobby and Advocacy” by Spark
- “Youth activists learn to lobby the system” by Ali Abulhoom for the Yemen Times
Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth engagement in lobbying in your community or organization, contact us.