Summer is almost here and we can’t wait to relax, sleep in, and hang out with friends. It’s been a tough year and while it’s tempting to sit on the couch and binge-watch Abbott Elementary and every show on Netflix, summer is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in politics or volunteer for a specific cause.
For the politically minded, there are multiple opportunities to campaign with high-profile races at the state and national levels. Georgia is one of the nation’s most important “swing states” where the two major political parties have similar levels of support among voters. So many issues are on the line with the upcoming state and federal elections in November 2022. Although many of us may be too young to vote, the results of these elections will impact us for years to come. We can’t assume that older people will understand and be able to advocate for the issues that are of critical importance to us.
In addition to the gubernatorial race, there are other important state elections, including the Attorney General and Secretary of State. At the federal level, there is a U.S. Senate race as well as every U.S. House of Representatives seat. There are multiple opportunities to get involved and make your voice heard. Campaigning is a great way to meet people and learn about issues that impact all of us. Given the national significance of the Georgia gubernatorial and senatorial races, national political figures and celebrities will be coming to the state, making the political volunteering process even more exciting. To find out how you can help, visit your preferred candidate’s website and see if they have information on how to volunteer and support their campaign.
For those who are more single-issue-oriented, there are many opportunities to organize and attend rallies and marches for reproductive rights, gun safety laws, protections for immigrants, and other important and timely issues. You can also visit your state representative in person and make calls to the offices of your senators and congressional representative and advocate for issues that resonate with you. Go to Open States to find your state and federal representatives and their contact information.
For those who are more hands on, volunteering is a great way to hasten positive change. The environmentally conscious can plant trees with Trees Atlanta to expand our urban canopy and reduce our carbon footprint. Those passionate about hunger and food waste can work in a food bank, rescue unused food, or help provide fresh produce to those who need it. Some organizations you can get involved in to combat food insecurity include the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Second Helpings, and Concrete Jungle. Those interested in children, families, or education, can volunteer in a summer enrichment program for at-risk youth or a family shelter. If you are interested in volunteering with children, you could get involved with Agape or Los Niños Primero. Or you could volunteer to prepare and serve a meal at My Sister’s House or the Zaban Paradies Center. Finally, food and other relief packages can be prepared for delivery to those displaced or otherwise affected by the current war in Ukraine. Some great non-profits you can donate to in order to help Ukraine include CARE and World Central Kitchen.
Regardless of your political ideologies, it has unfortunately become clear that our political leaders frequently don’t take to heart the concerns of teens. Spending time on advocating for the candidates and issues that matter to us will bring us an important opportunity for our voices to be heard and to meet others with similar interests and passions.