Youth Voice And Why It Matters by Erin Cesmeli, BOA Student Leader

1. Why does Youth Voice matter?

The Youth Voice is a 74-million person community in America. When the Youth Voice is ignored, 23% of America’s population is being ignored. When the Youth Voice is pushed aside, the adults of tomorrow are being pushed aside. Youth Voice is so essential to society as it is the youth who will be leading the world and making the decisions in the future.

2. How to Make Youth Voice Heard

If you are an adult, listen. It is important to note that there is a difference between hearing and listening. If you want to make the Youth Voice heard, you have to listen first. There are various programs and organizations that can use mentors or funding. These organizations promote the Youth Voice in a unified manner (ex. Oregon Student Voice or #NeverAgain). Moreover, there are less structured activist groups that also need mentoring and advisors that you, as an adult, can provide to the youth organizations. 

If you are the youth, engage in the aforementioned organizations and groups. Or, better yet, create your own organization. It is also essential in a progressing technological world that you embrace social media and its outreach. We live in a world that is constantly connected, so use this to your advantage. Finally, CIVIC ENGAGEMENT! This is essential to be able to create long term change within the field you are working in. These organizations and groups are great to raise public awareness and gain support, but if you aren’t reaching out to your legislators and the government, not much change will take place in the long run. 

 

3. Examples of Strong Youth Voice

 

If you want some examples of strong youth voice, check out some of the names below that have made great strides in their respective fields as youth:

 

July is Youth Voice!  Make your voice heard!

 

Erin Cesmeli is MMP's Summer Bank of America Student Leader. #bankofamericastudentleaders