Resources for Youth Leadership and Political Involvement
YouthVote Web Site (www.youthvote.org). Youth Vote is a national, non-partisan coalition working to increase the political involvement of Americans, 18-30 years old. The Youth Vote Coalition consists of over 100 diverse national organizations. The Web site includes news, events, ways to build coalitions that increase voter education for youth, and facts and figures about youth voting.
National Youth Leadership Network. The network is a youth-driven, youth-led organization comprised of young adult leaders with disabilities. It promotes leadership development, education, employment, independent living, and health and wellness among young leaders representing the diversity of race, ethnicity, and disability in the U.S. It also fosters the inclusion of young leaders with disabilities into all aspects of society at national, state and local levels, and communicates about issues important to youth with disabilities. The network is supported by the Center for Self-Determination at Oregon Health and Science University. For further information visit the network’s Web site at http://nyln.org/ or call 503/232-9154, x125.
The Kid’s Guide to Social Action. By Barbara A. Lewis. Published by Free Spirit Press (www.freespirit.com or 612/338-2068). A practical manual for youth on “how to solve the social problems you choose – and turn creative thinking into positive action.” This book written for youth teaches the skills needed to make a difference by addressing social problems from the local to the national levels. Topics include skills for identifying the problem, letter writing, public speaking, conducting surveys, starting petitions, doing fundraising, getting media coverage, campaigning, doing voter registration, and protesting. It also describes how government bodies work, how laws are made, and how to lobby, change laws, and amend state constitutions. And it has many forms and checklists to use in the process, as well as personal stories of youth making a positive difference.
YouthNoise Web Site (www.youthnoise.com). Sponsored by the Save the Children Federation, Inc. This Web site for youth is designed to “inspire, connect, and empower youth to help young people everywhere by volunteering, fundraising, and speaking out.” It gives information on issues affecting youth such as school violence, AIDS, child abuse, hate crimes, hunger, and poverty. It has a section called “Bills About You” that describes bills in Congress that affect young people. It has action alerts that tell steps that youth can take on specific issues affecting young people in the U.S. and around the world. And it has links to every state in the country with information about the candidates running for election in each state and about how to register to vote and vote in each state.
Retrieved from the Web site of the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota (http://ici.umn.edu). Citation: Gaylord, V., Powers, L., Hayden, M., Smith, J., & Finn, C. (Eds.) (2004). Impact: Feature Issue on Political Activism and Voter Participation by Persons with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities 17(2). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration. Available at http://ici.umn.edu/products/impact/172/default.html.