Berkeley, CA, March 6, 2016 — As the nation prepares to elect a new president, the National Writing Project and KQED, along with numerous nonprofit partners and public media organizations, are engaging middle and high school students across the country in preparing to voice their ideas about the issues central to the election. Letters to the Next President 2.0 (L2P 2.0), a large-scale civic media opportunity, helps teachers tap election-year excitement to get young people reading, researching, writing, and making media about issues that matter to them.
"Young people don't want to wait till they are voting age to have a voice in their future," said Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, executive director of National Writing Project. "Letters to the Next President provides resources, learning opportunities, and curriculum ideas for educators to engage youth in writing about issues central to their future as citizens and community members."
Letters to the Next President is a national non-partisan, civic learning project. Throughout the Spring and Summer, L2P 2.0 partners share resources and opportunities for teachers to help young people hone research, writing, and media making skills. By getting young people to explore questions like, "From your perspective, what are the issues the next president should pay attention to, and why?," Letters to the Next President 2.0 gives teachers and parents tools to help teenagers become more engaged citizens and, eventually, voters.
"As a public media organization, KQED is excited to join this effort to make sure that youth have a platform to be heard on Election Day," said Tim Olson, KQED's Vice President, Digital Media and Education. "Whether it's the environment, jobs, human rights, or healthcare, when a student knows how to produce a video or write compellingly for social media about a heart-felt issue, they can have a powerful voice in the political conversation right now."
Beginning in August, Letters to the Next President 2.0 will launch a large-scale publication site where young people 13–18 are invited to publish their views and explore the views of other youth from around the country. The site will power a national conversation throughout the campaign until Election Day, then will remain open to promote and highlight youth voice and work into the inaugural year.
Letters to the Next President 2.0 is modeled after the highly successful original project during the 2008 Presidential Election. At that time, more than 10,000 students from over 800 schools nationwide wrote and published letters that spoke to their hopes and concerns about the nation. In this 2016 initiative, hosts NWP and KQED hope to engage even more young people and their teachers.
Visit letters2president.org to connect and learn more and follow the conversation on social media using the hashtag #2nextprez.