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My2CentsForChange.org Gives Teens Voice in Upcoming Election

February 1, 2008

"Staying in the Middle East is the only way we can combat terrorism." – Joey B., 16, Las Vegas, NV

"Any consenting adult should have the right to enter into any contract they desire, including marriage." Brandon W., 16, Allentown, PA

"The cost of health care is unfair to those who need it but cannot afford it." – Erica K., 15, Cherry Hill, NJ

More than ever, presidential hopefuls are scrambling after the youth vote, the term widely used to refer to voters ages 18-34. With the Facebook/YouTube/iPod generation positioned to make an enormous impact on the upcoming election, the trend has trickled down, and teens who are not yet old enough to vote, still want to have their say.

"I may not be able to vote this year, but the future president will have a large impact on me regardless," said Gabbi Baker, 16, from Columbia, SC. "And most importantly, this election determines who will be on the ballot for when I am able to vote in 2012. Teens are realizing more and more that there is reason to care."

In an effort to empower youth leadership, civic involvement and cross-cultural dialogue, as well as provide teens with the platform to speak their minds about the upcoming election, BBYO has created a new site, My2CentsForChange.org, aimed at giving teens ages 13-17 a voice in the upcoming election. By partnering with Declare Yourself, 18in08, Generation Engage, DoSomething.org, Project Vote Smart, YouthNoise and Mobilize.org—popular organizations that promote youth advocacy—My 2 Cents is positioned to make a real difference in the future of youth voting.

"My 2 Cents is the perfect platform to engage teens from across the country to feel as though their say matters," said Zach Cherny, 17, from Milwaukee, WI. "And we have a lot to say."

Through My 2 Cents for Change, teens of all backgrounds can add their thoughts on the issues that they feel most passionate about, from education and healthcare to war and genocide. The animated site features links for teens to find out more information on the issues and candidates before directing them to "give their 2 cents." At the end of each month, My 2 Cents will bundle all of the comments and send them to the presidential candidates.

And the teens' reward for giving their 2 cents? Change.

"My 2 Cents was developed because our teens expressed a sincere desire to have a voice in political matters," said Matthew Grossman, Executive Director of BBYO. "As an organization which has been committed to developing future leaders for more than 80 years, BBYO felt obligated to help teens--both Jewish and non-Jewish--be heard in the upcoming election."

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