Through the voice and passion of the younger generations is were we find hope, solution, and empowerment while embarking upon shifting local consumption to a more sustainable matter. My proposal is to educate students about the opportunities in our community to have their voices and concerns be heard by government officials and pave the way towards more sustainable policy for the future.
AUDIENCE: My audience through this proposal is the younger voices in our community. Being inspired by the words shared by current AHS and DHS students about the reintroduction of the plastic bag ban during the city council meeting, I found value in creating a space where kids have a voice in the policy being implemented in our community as well as our nation. The way the world is being impacted today will only grow with years time and this is our future. The importance of the voice of those who will be affected for the longest time almost seems like it should be a normal practice while looking at what government officials are discussing. This is why I am trying to impact the students mindset towards the democratic nation we call home. Being unable to vote is something that I am sure turns kids away from being apart of the discussion when it comes to issues that people are passionate about, BUT THIS IS NOT THE CASE! I want to bring confidence and empowerment to voices that are not commonly heard within city council meetings. I am pitching this proposal to Animas High School administration and teachers as well as the younger generations in the Durango community.
MY PROPOSAL: After meeting with a Fort Lewis Environmental Center student, I learned about different opportunities and events coming up in the near future about methane and air quality in southwest Colorado. This is where I could see a lot of student voices coming into play in our local decisions when it comes to emissions, which in turn will reduce overall air pollution.
The way I see civil engagement with teens in our local government begins with the education of how our local government is passing policy and regulation. Obviously, this would not be a biased approach but would outline what is going on within our government locally and how the system works here in Durango. I really did enjoy when in the County Climate Coalition said that, in order to think globally, we must start locally. I would specifically propose this to the teachers and administration at Animas High School as a project that would focus on how local government works and how our small scale regulations, bans, and policies really do affect the world around us. This would not only be a beneficial project for our local civil engagement, but good knowledge and skill for when it is time for students to engage in the voting process.
PROPOSED TIMELINE FOR THIS PROJECT:
AUGUST/SEPTEMBER (BUILDING BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE):
To begin this project, students will learn how our political system works on a national level.
What branches are involved and what role do they play?
What is policy and law?
How do those policies and laws get passed?
This would also go over things such as historical context so that we understand the root of where our politics originated from.
After knowing how national government works, we would turn to learn how local government works.
How do policies, bans, and regulations pass at this level?
State VS. City
Similarities and Differences.
This would also be the time where students could go and interview city council members about how it all works to gain insight!
How do city council meetings work?
Election process and personal experiences.
OCTOBER/ NOVEMBER (PROJECT TIME!):
Students would look at local/national issues and how governments have been trying to (or not…) resolve the issue.
With this aspect, students can then write either a piece of policy writing, or a letter to a specific representative about why or why not their approach towards the issue is good.
There could also be a public speaking aspect, where students are required to make a formal speech about a resolution they would like to see in place or to resolve a policy students don’t agree with.
FINAL PROJECT: A mock city council meeting!
This will include an agenda with meeting topics with public opinion and speeches included.
Students would have different positions within this mock city council meeting and then they could switch for each topic (Different students have speeches in different topics during meeting.)
This idea is inspired by the Model United Nations project and exhibition.
The next step in this proposal is initiating a group of individuals who would like to be apart of the conversation about what is happening locally political wise. This could be an after-school program and this would include everything from guest speakers, specifically those who have tried the public policy process. Durango beyond plastic is a great example of this and I would ask if they would like to talk about the process and successes/failures. Another aspect of this group would be watching the City Council Meetings, organizing events to get more kids involved and just being mentors and examples for others who would like to get involved. Not every student wants to be as involved with the process as others but I really do believe that this project might spark a lot of inspiration within students to become more engaged in the process. Having this after-school program where students can get informed and involved in the process locally. Again, I have found that in order to make a change in the local community, which in turn will make a difference on a large scale.In order to see change for our future, I propose that students take time to learn and develop skills that set them up for success for voting and understanding what is actually happening during political processes. Providing mentorships and guidance from individuals who want to step up and speak out about the issues that they see is the first way to create change.