They Say We Stand For Nothing and There’s No Way We Ever Could

The past month I have been so involved in democracy that I dream about bills and manage to turn every conversation into one about legislation. It’s annoying and yet I’m hooked. I soak it all up. Yesterday I attended COBI—Children…Our Best Investment, which is a day where students can hear speakers talk about current issues, form messages for their legislators, have lunch with Senators and Representatives, and go to the Statehouse for tours and conversations with legislators. I was so impressed to see young people soaking it up just like I do.

They asked panelists tough questions that forced them to get to the heart of the issues. When legislators came to lunch, they brought up problems in education that they are facing and asked how the current bills are going to address the issues. If answers from panelists or legislators were not up to snuff, they said, “But what about this…” Everything from gang activity in schools, to undocumented immigrants getting a college education, to how far schools can go in suspending and expelling students, to restructuring the Indianapolis Public School system were brought up and spoken about not only with passion, but with poise, knowledge, and confidence.

At the Statehouse later in the day I saw students talking with their legislators, grilling legislative assistants about how they got their jobs and what degree was needed, and introducing themselves as “Future Senator So-and-So” and “Future Governor”.

If this is the face of Indiana’s future, we are in good hands. These high school students want to know the answers. They ask good questions. They’re not interested in simply identifying a problem; they’re interested in coming up with solutions and making them happen. I’m confident that even in a highly partisan political climate that is discouraging many, these students will keep their drive and optimism and become great leaders.

One day our generation is gonna rule the population, so stop Waiting on the World to Change. These youth did.

Interested in having your voice heard? Join MCCOY’s Youth Advocacy Council.
Want to stay updated on the legislative session and other advocacy updates? Follow MCCOY_Advocacy on Twitter.


I Have a Dream…

…that one day I will be a senator or representative deftly writing policy, thoughtfully listening to my constituents, and boldly crossing party lines to do what is best for the state of Indiana or even the United States.  But right now, I am a nervous intern whose legs shake and palms sweat as I stand in front of committee members giving testimony on a bill. Obviously, I have a ways to go.
Just two short weeks into my time here at MCCOY, I was given the opportunity to take the lead on presenting testimony on behalf of MCCOY. While I was excited and prepared–I had typed out my talking points–I was also intimidated by the company I was in. Seasoned lobbyists and veteran senators surrounded me as I stood and began, “Good evening Chairman Kruse and committee members” (I don’t think it hurt that I mentioned that I was a student. Perhaps that explained the quiver in my voice.)

However, as I began to speak, I gained my confidence. I looked up from my paper and I met the eyes of Senators Kruse and Schneider, who may or may not have been listening, but who were watching me attentively. I made my points, I thanked them, and I walked to my seat, confident that I had done my best to participate in the legislative process.

I know the camera on my phone is blurry—it’s not a smart phone—but this is what it looks like waiting to give testimony.

February is Youth Leadership Month, so as January comes to a close, start thinking of ways to encourage the young people you work with to get involved in the legislative process. Or if you are a young person reading this, go let your voice be heard! YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Own your power. There is still much to be done in the 2012 Legislative Session.

Interested in being kept up to date on bills that affect youth? Follow MCCOY_Advocacy on Twitter.
Want to own your power? Join the Youth Advocacy Council.

Welcome to our new intern!

I am a senior at IUPUI studying Marketing and Supply Chain Management. I just started working here at MCCOY and I look forward to learning more about the art of fundraising and helping those in need. I have always wanted to work with a nonprofit organization. When I was given the opportunity to learn more about MCCOY, I was excited to be a part of such a wonderful organization. From the moment that started, I was greeted warmly with a smile. All of the staff has been extremely helpful and knowledgeable with all of my questions.
-Alex Plummer