Legislative advocacy for Youth Intervention may be the key to solving most of the problems that are ailing communities everywhere. The good news is that legislative leaders recognize they need to do better at supporting young people. Like you, they see that too many of them are struggling.
Youth Intervention taps into the universal desire for our young people to be the best they can be. This is as true for an individual parent as it is for the community as a whole.
With the needs and benefits of Youth Intervention so clear, to be effective you only need a passion to get the message out. We simply need to let elected officials know why it makes sense for them to support community-based youth-serving organizations.
The 6 reasons why you are set for success when advocating for Youth Intervention:
- Awareness of of the problem. Unless you are living under a rock, you have seen and read stories about young people who are struggling. The media loves to tell these types of stories and legislators watch the media.
- The need to bend the cost curve. Regardless of party affiliation, all lawmakers want to keep spending under control. Youth Intervention provides a social return on investment and it saves money in the short and long term. These savings can then be invested in infrastructure and education.
- The need to bend the demand curve. Having more individuals contributing to the common good instead of being consumers of public services is desired by every lawmaker. Youth Intervention enables our young people to develop into healthy contributing adults.
- Desire to please constituents. Youth Intervention addresses all the major concerns expressed by constituent groups today. These concerns are improved public safety, the need for effective spending, and quality of community life.
- Bipartisan support. Youth Intervention is not a partisan issue. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents may have different reasons for supporting Youth Intervention but at the end of the day they all support our young people.
- It is good politics. Every elected official wants to tout the fact that they have sponsored or voted for legislation that reduced spending, improved public safety, and fostered a strong work force. Supporting Youth Intervention allows them to do that.
But elected officials need to feel the wind at their back before supporting initiatives for change. They need to know that change is what their constituents want.
Let our lawmakers know that you, their constituent, want them to support our young people so they can positively develop their unique skills and talents
I encourage you to send an email to your legislators right now! It’s so easy to do, simply Google “who represents me” to find your elected officials and let them know you want them to adequately support youth workers and youth-serving organizations.
You can also give them a call or write them a letter. Ask them if they they share your values regarding our young people. It’s easier than you think and you’ll be surprised at how many of them will be supportive.
Paul Meunier is the Executive Director of the Youth Intervention Programs Association (YIPA).
YIPA provides relentless advocacy in Minnesota and exceptional online training for youth-serving organizations and youth workers everywhere. Join us!