What's it like to be involved in the Inspire Virginia Program? Whether you are a high school student, teacher, community leader, or supporter, when you get involved, you are helping young voices speak out and be heard in our federal, state, and local governments.
The 2017-18 Inspire VA Program takes place during the school year. Although the program can vary each year, here are the foundational components.
The Inspire2Vote Leadership Academy
The Academy is one of the most important components of the Inspire AZ Program. Inspired Leaders will receive Voter Registration training and develop critical leadership and problem-solving skills as they assess the civic health of their state, advance their effectiveness as communicators, and plan projects and activities focused on making a positive impact in their community.
The Inspired Year
Peer-to-Peer Voter Registration
In order to improve the civic health of a community and strengthen our democracy, more young people need to be involved in the electoral process. To this end, students lead non-partisan voter registration events at their high schools with fellow students whom they have recruited to support their efforts. The goal for each school is to lead ongoing voter registration drives throughout the year (with events on National Voter Registration Day and Virginia High School Registration Week) to register and pledge to vote 85% of the senior class.
Get Out The Vote Efforts
In order to truly be heard by elected officials, voter turnout among registered young people also needs to increase. Building off of peer-to-peer voter registration, Inspired Leaders also engage in peer-to-peer GOTV efforts. These efforts include Pledge to Vote drives, phone banking, social media contact, classroom presentations, and other creative ideas spearheaded by our students.
School Team Meetings
Once a month, Inspired Leaders will meet with Inspire Virginia staff to action plan their voter registration plans and GOTV goals. These meetings will include collecting and receiving materials, reviewing goals, and creating a plan for the next month.
January Registration Conference
In January, Inspired Leaders will host a regional voter registration conference, where they train students from other schools on registering their peers. This event allows Inspired leaders to practice their leadership and public speaking skills. As students train more peers on voter registration, they will create a youth registration movement across the Commonwealth, ensuring that all eligible students have the opportunity to register to vote. This training will help students as they prepare for High School Registration week in April.
Day at the Capitol
In the spring, Inspired Leaders will get the chance to visit Virginia’s Capitol Building in Richmond. The day will include a tour of the capitol and meetings with elected officials. Inspired Leaders will get the chance to meet the representatives and senators who represent their districts.
By 2018, our vision is to see informed, confident, and empowered young people at the polls. To help young people be informed and to ensure that Virginia’s elected officials are including high school students in the conversation, Inspire Virginia will host forums for young Virginians to attend and interact with elected officials and political candidates. These forums will focus on young people and the issues they find important. It will be young people who research the candidates and positions, and will develop questions to hold them accountable.
Virginia High School Registration Week
Governor Terry McAuliffe declared the last week in April to be Virginia High School Registration Week. Inspired Leaders at every school with host a registration and/or pledge event to hype up the week with other high school students across the Commonwealth.
Alumni Induction Event
At the conclusion of the Inspired Year, students will gather to celebrate the achievements of their life-changing year. They will then be inducted into the larger Inspire U.S. Alumni network. This event will connect them with fellow alumni in college and other organizations doing similar work on their campuses. It will also prepare them to continue to advocate for greater civic action in college.