Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 3: Learning to Make an Impact

Akira Casch, Fundisha Tibebe, and Luisa Ashenfelter, of the Seattle delegation, stand at the Foggy Bottom Metro stop.
The day began with a ride on the D.C. Metro — a first for many of the delegates visiting from around the nation. "I'm learning my way around. I love a challenge," said Jillian Eloby from Chicago.

The teams traveled by train from Foggy Bottom to Union Station, then walked over to the Dirksen Senate Office Building. There they met with a panel from IMPACT — an organization of people in their 20s who have banded together to increase civic engagement and raise awareness of the political and legislative processes. Hannah Alley from Picayune, Miss., said she was surprised and inspired by the youth of the IMPACT team.

Meeting with members of the IMPACT team on Capitol Hill.YEP delegates got to sit on the very dais where their states' senators sit. Angela Rye of IMPACT encouraged those in attendance, saying, "You're never too young [to get involved in the government process]." She ended her presentation with these words: "You have the power within you to start a movement. You are the change. You can be the change!"

Hannah Alley of Picayune, right, shakes hands with IMPACT member, Angela Rye. Center is Malon Murphy of Los Angeles.During a Q&A session afterward, Angela mentioned the page program available to high school students around the country. It offers them the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill for a quarter or semester. Over lunch, Malon Murphy of the Los Angeles delegation said, "I'm going to apply for that page program. I don't know if I can get in, but I'm going to apply."

Teams spent the afternoon sightseeing. They got to choose between the Holocaust Museum, the Air & Space Museum, the National Cathedral, or the National History Museum. At dinnertime, they met at First Baptist church — a World Vision partner in the Petworth neighborhood.

Tali Hairston of the John M. Perkins Center spoke passionately about creativity as a necessary component of social change. Another principle, he said, is "practicing paradoxical curiosity"
in other words, taking opposing opinions and holding them together. He encouraged the young people to "do what 'they' say can't be done. You're going to have to take a risk to create change in your community," he said. Tali left the delegates with a final thought: "Always believe that the boundaries around you can change because of what's inside you."

Valerie Riccio, Aaron Kittle, and Rodney Feaster, of the Appalachia delegation, visit the White House on the night time tour of the D.C. monumentsHe got a standing ovation. Afterward, the delegates asked questions and shared their thoughts. "You are so empowering," said Nor'Vessa White from Seattle. "You really make me feel like I can make a difference in this world."

The day ended with a nighttime walking tour of the Washington, D.C., monuments. Then it was back to George Washington University for a few hours of sleep before the full day on Capitol Hill meeting with senators and representatives.

Laura Reinhardt, assignment editor for World VisionPosted by Larry Short on behalf of Laura Reinhardt in Washington D.C. Laura is Assignment Editor for World Vision in the United States and is currently on assignment at the Youth Empowerment Summit.

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