by Devin Chicras
In an effort to get as many youth registered and informed ahead of the 2019 General Election in King County on November 5th, 2019, we partnered with Renton High School students over one week in October to train, inspire, and engage.
West Hill Community Association (WHCA) Advocacy Committee members (Board President Jeremy Williams, Secretary Margie Lindberg, Vice President Devin Chicras) presented an “Elections 101” roundup of tips and facts about registering and voting in King County to a packed audience of students at Renton High School’s (RHS) Ikea Performing Arts Center.
After the talk, the WHCA team joined up with Garrett Davis of the nonprofit organization The Washington Bus in the cafeteria where we registered or pre-registered (for 16- and 17-year-olds) nearly sixty High School Seniors.
In addition to registrations, we collected almost 40 names of potential volunteers for a week-long effort to register and engage their peers. Out of that list, a total of ten students were able to fully commit. After a brief training session over lunch, two teams alternated that week between collecting registrations and canvassing their peers to determine issues of importance.
Canvassing responses showed that students are interested in:
- Racism, classism, oppression
- Climate change
- School funding and student welfare
- Improving educational experience for minority students
- Police brutality
- Closure of parks
Our student volunteers also turned in about forty more voter registration forms, bringing the total registrations in one week to around one hundred!
We were thrilled to hear in the lunchtime debrief session we held with the volunteer Student Voter Education Cohort that they all enjoyed their experience and would all be interested in being involved with further civic engagement and education efforts.
Thanks to Team Justin, Ronzell, Katelynn, Elizabeth, Eliana for turning it out on registrations and bravely breaking out of comfort zones to engage your peers.
Thanks to Team Alicia, Abby, Diana, Mimi, Alysa for getting creative with your outreach including your classroom presentations and Instagram.
We learned so much from these students that we can use to improve our engagement with students, and are very grateful for their expertise and passion.
A big thank you to Garrett Davis and The Washington Bus for your support and guidance, and to Nichola Fulmer, College & Career Specialist at RHS for the assist.
And of course a very big thank you as always to King County Elections and Seattle Foundation for their support of WHCA’s efforts through their Voter Education Fund. We were able to provide students with tons of great materials, voter swag, and healthy lunches to fuel their efforts.
Like having a more engaged, informed and vibrant community? You can make a huge impact by joining your neighbors in giving $5 or more a month to the leanest, hardest working all-volunteer nonprofit in the neighborhood.