So, if I want to be an advocate and I think that an advocate is necessary, how would an advocate help?
What I have learned in the last few years is that there are many programs, organizations, and individuals working to help teens. There are so many great people in schools, churches, youth centers, and other places to help teens. However, nearly all of us work in isolation. We work within larger organizations that focus much more widely than teens so we and the teens we work with get lost in the shuffle. Many of us work alone and try to create programs and gather resources from the ground up and wear ourselves out in the process.
I believe that a larger effort focused exclusively on teens could coordinate these efforts, connect the advocates, locate resources, and research the most successful programs. We could be more successful together.
Here’s how I would like to help:
Voter reg at YA Book Fests and other spaces.
-I have contacted 2 Teen Book Festivals myself to ask them if they could have voter registration available and have been told that all of their exhibitor space was taken.
Help to find legal resources for teens.
Advocate for better and more widely available mental health services and health services.
Research the best ways to help kids make the transition from childhood to adulthood happily, sanely, and confidently. How do they do it in other countries?
Coordinate and more deliberately program events and opportunities for teens to hear from the people who care about them – i.e. YA writers, educators, youth advocates. Events where teens can learn about opportunities and get support from each other.
Help with employment and financial security resources- also with child care resources and food security which are a major concern for so many teens.
We could be more successful together in a community of advocates if we were connected.
That’s what I want to do.