By INDIA KRUG – Teenagers often feel as if their outlet to create change is limited. However, IHS students are making waves with the Indiana County Young Democrats. Blue waves, in fact. The idea for the group began earlier this year with IHS alumna Chelsea Jane.
In anticipation of the upcoming November elections, members canvass and phone-bank for local Democratic candidates, such as Susan Boser: an IUP professor running for Congress. Every Sunday the Democratic Office is bustling with activity– address packets getting handed out, volunteers making phone calls, and interns playing Jimmy Buffett.
Students meet bi-weekly on Thursdays at the Democratic Office, which opened this summer on Philadelphia Street. There they are currently organizing community activities such as a party with Braddock, Pennsylvania’s mayor John Fetterman and an event partnering with the Humane Society, as part of the local voter registration initiative.
Senior Nick Skalican a member of the Young Democrats comments, “I joined the young Dems to get more active politically in my community, something I feel we as youth should get started early with.” Skalican, along with other members, are doing just that– at IUP, high schoolers can frequently be found registering college students to vote.
Shifts are three hours long and teach constructive skills such as responsibility, leadership, communication, and response to criticism. Volunteers do not only talk to fellow Democrats; conversations with Republicans and Independents are equally important.
These shifts also allow students to actively engage with their community– some voters require special transportation to the polls or want additional information on candidates to decide which boxes they will end up checking on their ballots come election day.
Junior Lily Boulard, who spends many weekends on campus registering students to vote stated, “Voting is one of the easiest and most important ways of exercising your rights as a citizen. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we can support people who have the same beliefs as us and fight for the change we believe in, so why not take advantage of that?”
For those looking to make politics a profession, Young Democrats provides opportunities to connect with those who work in Washington. Senator Bob Casey, who is running for re-election this year, visited the Democratic Office last Saturday to thank volunteers. He stated, “I appreciate what you are doing on not only a personal level, but what you are doing for your country.”
Junior Avery Redd recently started a fellowship with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “I really enjoy politics and urge others to get involved. This is our country and even though we are unable to vote, we can still make an impact. Young Dems is a great organization that gets young people, like us, involved.”
Want to register to vote? Students will be around during tenth periods in the next few weeks. Want to vote in the midterm elections? They are on November 6th. Want to join the Young Dems? Connect with them through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or come to the Democratic Office at 572 Philadelphia St.
[Photo courtesy of Chelsea Jane]
Photo Caption: “Junior Lily Boulard (pictured, far-right) registers IUP students to vote.”
India is a junior and a second year reporter for the High Arrow. High school journalism is important to her because it is dangerous to be uninformed. As a part of the High Arrow staff, she is able to grow as a writer while learning from her peers and those in the field.