BY CHELSEA COSTELLO HORNYAK, COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, INSPIRE U.S. (GUEST CONTRIBUTOR)
West Virginia might have a bad rap for certain things like brain drain and low voter turnout, but there are young high school leaders sprinkled throughout our state working to improve their communities and amplify the youth vote. They know that West Virginia is their home and if anyone is going to make it a better place to live, work and raise a family – it’s them.
Inspire West Virginia helps students do just that. Inspire WV is a program of the national nonpartisan organization Inspire U.S. that has been working with high school students, teachers, administrators, county clerks and the Secretary of State since 2014.
The Inspire WV 2019-2020 Inspired Leader Application is open and we’re looking for interested rising juniors and seniors to apply now (www.inspire-usa.org/2019_application)! Younger high school students will be considered, so please share with all high school students.
“Inspired Leaders” shine in West Virginia.
These leaders have registered and pledged more than 15,900 of their peers to vote. They have hosted youth-led candidate forums in their schools, they’ve spoken on issues that directly impact them at the Capitol during session, they have worked hard to bus students to the polls during early voting, they’ve advocated for their peers and teachers at school board meetings, they’ve ran for office, and won. They go to WVU, Marshall, Shepherd, Concord, U.C., Wesleyan, BridgeValley, they work in the mines, they’re EMTs, they get married and have children.
Inspire WV leaders are a part of a national youth voter engagement movement – and our WV leaders are the best of the best.
We’re not sure why West Virginia leaders stand out compared to other states, but it might have something to do with their pride for their home state, their love for their family and neighbors, and their belief and determination that they can make a real difference in our Mountain State.
In preparation for 2020, Inspire WV is hosting 3 student trainings this August called Inspire2Vote Leadership Summits. The Leadership Summits are for young leaders who have a desire to build their leadership skills and increase voter engagement amongst their peers. These Summits will also be the kick off to the 2019-2020 Inspired Year and will be the first time Inspired Leaders from different schools across the state get to meet each other.
If you are a high school student or know a high school student who might be interested in Inspire WV, please share the 2019-20 Inspire WV Leader Application with them (www.inspire-usa.org/2019_application) so they can get started with Inspire!
There is no cost to any student or school who wants to participate in the Inspire WV program. But, if you’d like to support a Leadership Summit in your area or sponsor a student in your community to attend the Summit, visit www.inspire-usa.org/summit_donate