Today is the day — Election Day 2012. Are you ready to exercise your civic duty today? Maybe you took advantage of early voting in your state like I did. Regardless of your party affiliation or selected presidential candidate I urge you today to let your voice be heard. The ability to vote is a right earned by the blood, sweat, and tears of many people. We are the example. Future generations are depending on us.
PLEASE don’t leave your young people behind when you go to the polls! Eighteen is the age when youth in foster care in many states exit the system (whether they are ready or not) but it’s also the national voting age. I don’t mean you must literally take your youth with you to the pols but if you are a youth empowerment or youth advocacy proponent, then please encourage the youth in your care to educate themselves about local, state, and national politics. Discourage them from following the crowd or expressing ambivalence by making clear the importance of every election. The presidential election is important but mayors, city council members, board of education members, judges, congressmen, and representatives are all public servants elected by the people. The reason that we have to obey speed limits, wear seat belts, and strap our babies into car seats is because of laws created and passed by elected officials. The amount of money allocated to education versus prisons in any state is a result of the people engaged in the political process and the people elected into political offices. Presidential proclamations allow us to commemorate National Adoption Month in November and National Foster Care Month in May. The reason that youth leave foster care in some states at age 18 and in other states at age 21 is because of the efforts and actions of citizens and elected officials.
The only way to increase the national age of support to youth in foster care to 21 or even 24 is through the political process. Let’s go to the polls! #VOTE
Nicki Sanders, MSW, Chief Visionary Officer
The Teen Toolbox provides youth portfolio development and civic engagement and academic empowerment strategies to help teens set goals for life after high school and create a road map to reach those goals through its PACKAGED FOR SUCCESS™ Programs.