Running for political office at the community, city, county, or state and provincial levels, youth as politicians should be able run for a variety of positions. While this practice is currently illegal in most places around the world, there are standout examples where young people have changed the world through engaging in government and politicians.
Older, younger, anyone can help. We’ve learned that our legislators listen, and people with passionate and thoughtful concerns make a difference every day. We’ve had constituents initiate legislation, lobby for it, organize meetings and events, and, of course, call, mail, email and visit legislators to express their views. It’s really great to see how much difference that individuals can make. — Doris Day
Ways Youth are Changing the World as Politicians
Youth Mayors — For more than 100 years, youth have been leading villages, towns and cities around the world. Through democratically elected positions, young people have provided leadership, guidance and direction to adults and youth people, building better communities, managing civic infrastructure and leading local governments.
Students as School Board Members — Working with adults as allies, students on school boards can learn about the governance of schools through full memberships, equal in number with adults. Their contributions have led to at least one school board saving hundreds of thousands of dollars, and are motivating districts to engage students as partners in education leadership.
Youth as Political Party Members — Every major political party has a youth wing that’s working to advance party politics. When youth are full members of these parties, they can create political agendas, reinforce their perspectives and demonstrate youth engagement.
Things Youth Need to Change the World as Politicians
Education — Learning about democracy is not enough; learning through democracy isn’t enough either. Instead, young people of all ages need opportunities to become fully immersed in democracy education through action. Planning, learning, action and reflection are all parts of the education process they should experience.
Opportunities — Young people need opportunities to serve their communities, countries and the world as elected officials. With full youth suffrage, all elected positions throughout every government should get rid of their age requirements. In turn, all youth everywhere should be encouraged to run for office as frequently possible.
Empowerment — Empowerment is a tool that ensures youth have full opportunities to become just as engaged as adults, with complete voting privileges, the right to raise issues, and every other opportunities adults have.
- “List of the youngest mayors in the United States” from Wikipedia
- “List of the youngest mayors in Canada” from Wikipedia
Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support youth politicians in your community or organization, contact us.