These Teens Are Shaping the Future...and Need Your Help!

David Purdy (Nordman); Brian Ray (Blanchard)

Think ahead four years: Maybe you’ll be applying to college, or starting your first full-time job. What will the country look like then, and how will the president elected next month influence your rights and determine your opportunities in such a major life moment?

 

Meet Carter, 18, and Jaya, 17. Their passion for politics will help you realize your own power to shape the future—whether that’s urging others to vote or volunteering for a campaign!

 

 

Carter Nordman is about to give a speech in front of more than 600 people, and he hasn’t practiced once. As he approaches the center of the packed gym floor, Carter shoves the note card he prepared 10 minutes earlier

into his pocket. He takes a deep breath, then explains to the audience why Donald Trump should become America’s next president.

 

“I don’t need notes to talk about something I’m passionate about,” says Carter. “I speak about this stuff all the time, so I knew I was ready.”

 

And he’s not exaggerating. The high school senior first launched himself into the political world at age 10, making thousands of yard signs for a local senate campaign, and has been active ever since.

 

“At 10, it was just fascination,” says Carter, who cares deeply about economic issues. “Now, it’s about doing everything I can to help put this country on the path it belongs. With a $19 trillion debt and no job growth, the least I can do is volunteer my time.”

 

In addition to being selected by the Trump campaign’s Iowa staff to speak at the caucus—a meeting of supporters with the same political ideals—in his hometown of Adel,

 

Carter also directs Iowa’s division of the college-based organization Students for Trump.

As state director, he travels to major universities throughout Iowa to encourage students to start their own chapter.

 

“People definitely question my credibility when I first show up,” says Carter. “They ask what college I go to, and I tell them I’m in high school—and then ‘20 questions’ starts.” But Carter loves the chance to prove his enthusiasm.

 

“If you really support someone, and you can do even the smallest thing to help them, that’s a great feeling,” he says.

 

 

 

 

The temperature in Iowa City hovers around 10 degrees, and Jaya Blanchard has been outside for 10 hours. She shifts her clipboard, stickers, and pens from one arm to the other and raises a gloved hand to knock on yet another door—one of about 100 she’s faced today. The door swings open, and Jaya clears her throat: “Hi! I’m a high school volunteer with the Hillary Clinton campaign. How are you doing?”

 

Jaya has always been interested in politics, but it wasn’t until volunteering with the Clinton campaign that she realized her power to shape the issues that affect her most.

 

“I spend my summers kayaking and camping in the country’s untouched wilderness, so I have a strong appreciation for nature,” she says. “Preserving our Earth is one of the most important problems right now, and I think politics is the most productive way to create change.”

 

After a few months of calling and knocking on doors to persuade locals to get out and vote in favor of her ideals, Jaya was selected for a fellowship position where she was taught how caucuses are run and how to get people involved. She even played a part in organizing her own precinct's caucus.

 

The catch? She’s not yet old enough to take her political passion to the polls.

 

“I wish I could vote,” says Jaya. “I’m always telling my older friends, ‘You have this huge privilege, and you need to take advantage of it.’ But not being old enough to vote actually helped me as a volunteer.” When one undecided voter learned of Jaya’s age, he told her, “The fact that you’re doing this when you can’t even vote makes me want to caucus for Hillary Clinton.”

 

The experience helped Jaya see that when it comes to politics, the sooner you dive in, the better. “It’s much better than waiting until you turn 18 to figure out what you believe in,” she says.

 
Additional vocabulary: incentive; persona

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