The Presidential Youth Council and what it could mean…for Amurica

PYCI recently took on a job as the (something though I think the technical name is “Director of Media Relations “) for the National Campaign for the Presidential Youth Council. I met the chair, an extraordinary young man named Alex Wirth, at an event in DC and we were talking about what good PR looks like. Naturally I gave him my thoughts on how he could market and promote the Presidential Youth Council (don’t worry I will explain what that is in a second) and so we got together in Boston. Alex and the existing team had already done a phenomenal job of working with specific Congressmen and women and Senators. They had begun reaching out to other organizational as well and I started working with them just as they were getting a major contribution from the Knight Foundation (50,000 dollars is major in my book)(Check out my news release posted below). The Knight Foundation gave it to them because they believe in the youth of America.

Call me naive but I believe in the youth of America. I know, we play Xbox and go on Reddit and some times don’t make our bed, but I also believe that we are smart, we are innovative, and we are the only ones that understand our issues to the fullest extent. The Campaign for the Presidential Youth Council (PYC) is a non-partisan campaign to get 12 extraordinary youths on a council together to advise the President on youth matters and on matters that relate to the future of this country. I mean, we are going to be the ones inheriting this great country of America (some say Amurica), why shouldn’t we have a seat at the table when it comes to decision making.

The example that I feel the strongest about that affects youth today is bullying. Who knows bullying like us Bully– (Warning: Video is intense, not graphic or anything but be prepared it is a well done music video about bullying)

Who knows half the issues we face on a daily basis like us? No one. Yeah I am 23 so yeah I am no longer a youth. But I remember my youthful days. I remember thinking I was going to be the next President of the United States. That was going to be my job right after I was an astronaut but before I was Indiana Jones (in my head as a kid I. WAS. AWESOME.)

In addition check out this article in the Washington Post (also check out the incredibly angry comments calling Petri a no good liberal arts major…seems a bit harsh?) http:// – P.S. I will am drafting a letter to Petri, lets see if she prints it.

There is no good reason our voice should go unheard. The PYC will be privately but non partisan funded (how often do you see those two words together – hint: almost never). We aren’t stepping on toes and we aren’t trying to climb a ladder, we are just trying to be heard.

I have come up with a number of strategies to start with and thanks to SparkAction’s leadership and some great team ideas (which I can by no means take any credit for at all) we have begun working with committees and as a cohesive unit to get this done. I got into politics because I love Israel, I stayed in politics because I love Israel and I found out along the way, I am passionate about a lot of stuff. The youth development in this country is one of those things that I found I was passionate about. And so, here I am. Check my news release…yo.


February 19, 2013

Knight Foundation invests in the next generation of leaders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has awarded $50,000 dollars to SparkAction in support of the youth-led Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council. The Campaign’s mission is to establish a Presidential Youth Council, made up of young Americans ages 16 to 24, who will advise the President on the perspectives of young people and offer suggestions on the design and implementation of youth policies. The  aim is to train and inspire young Americans to help shape the country that they will inherit.

“The support provided by the Knight Foundation will allow the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council to show both policymakers and young[cj1]  people that civic engagement doesn’t end at the voting booth,” said Alex Wirth, 19, campaign chair.

According to CIRCLE, a non-partisan research center at Tufts University focused on youth civic engagement, young people were decisive in the 2012 election, comprising 19 percent of the electorate. Yet the Harvard Institute of Politics found in a recent study that only 29 percent of young Americans believe they have a say in government. With issues from education reform to the federal deficit directly impacting the future of young Americans, a Presidential Youth Council will give the nation’s youth a voice in the national debate and provide useful insight to policymakers as they implement policies that affect youth in the future.

“We are not only excited by the progress the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council has made in the past two years, but impressed by how the next generation of Americans is taking an active interest in policies that affect them,” said Jeff Coates of Knight Foundation. “With young people across the nation taking such an active interest in our government, the future looks bright.”

The support of Knight Foundation follows an endorsement from a bipartisan group of six U.S. Senators and seven members of Congress with the introductions of S.Res. 608 and H.J.Res. 115 last fall.  In addition, the White House Council for Community Solutions called for the creation of a Presidential Youth Council in its final report last summer.

More than 100 local, state, and national youth-serving organizations including the America’s Promise Alliance,, The Forum for Youth Investment, Youth Service America, generationOn, Young Invincibles, and the First Focus Campaign for Children support the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council.

The Knight grant was awarded to SparkAction to provide organizational support to the youth-led Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council.


About the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council
The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council is a bipartisan, youth-led initiative created by young people from all across the country. The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council advocates for the creation of an advisory body comprised of young Americans ages 16-24 who will advise the President on the perspectives of young people, offer suggestions on the design and implementation of youth policies, and create shared recommendations on issues that will affect the long-term future of our country. To learn more, visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

About SparkAction is a collaborative online journalism and advocacy platform to mobilize action by and for young people.


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