The room filled in with the young, the old, and everything in between.
It was one of those mornings, where the rain is so heavy you’re drenched before your hand reaches the door knob. Inside, though, the day was looking up, as a diverse group of people gathered to gear up for the coming election season.
Last week I attended Our Children Our Future’s Civic Engagement workshop in Morgantown. After a day spent discussing the Our Children Our Future platform, get out the vote (GOTV) methods, voter registration drives and candidate forums – a day that will send a policy wonk like me to the moon and back – I learned of something so neat happening in Morgantown.
Led by Our Children Our Future’s fearless North Central Coordinator, Eddie Sloane, this group is pulling together a team of volunteers to host a question and answer forum for prospective candidates for the state legislature.
If you choose to join these rockstars, you can help determine really important things like what questions should be asked of the candidates? Who can best moderate the forum? What rules should the forum participants be asked to abide by? How can the community hold candidates accountable for their responses afterwards?
If these candidate forums are to happen in Morgantown and other cities in West Virginia, it will require people like you to get involved. People who are interested in influencing their community for the better, those keen to see their community and state grow, and those who have never joined a community group in their life but are ready to jump in and lend a hand now.
You might be thinking, ehh, there are more “important” things. But, simply put, our communities and our democracy work so much better when we’re all involved.
Civic engagement is not solely about the do-good feeling one might have upon attending a local fundraiser, nor is it about a boring civic duty tasked to you by a bunch of old men in the 1700s.
Youth who chose to volunteer are substantially less likely than their peers to experience a disconnection from work or school. Volunteering can help individuals learn new skills and gain experience that can further their careers in meaningful ways. And places with higher rates of volunteerism tend to experience lower rates of income inequality. The benefits, both individual and collective, are endless.
So get out there and volunteer, do favors for your neighbors, or participate in any community organization. Join Eddie and his crew to ensure that your community gets the answers it needs to make informed decisions at the polls this November. Whatever you choose, have fun with it!
To get involved contact Eddie Sloane at firstname.lastname@example.org