Giving a Voice to Michigan’s Youth
“I think it’s important for young people to have a voice.”
Democracy– government of the people, by the people, for the people.
“A mission to help cities and schools create student positions in local government,” says Liam Dreyer.
About a year and a half ago, 17 year old Liam Dreyer founded Government for Tomorrow— a non-profit organization run and organized by high school students.
At just 14– Dreyer became one of the youngest downtown development authority board members in the country– with the passion for fresh perspective and a brighter future.
“The opportunity for a high-schooler to represent the youth opinion of the community. This is done through a position made on a downtown development authority, or a parks and recreation, or a planning commission, or any really any municipal board,” says Dreyer.
This group of Northern Michigan students have already helped create 20 positions across local government boards–
Ted Arnold, member of Government for Tomorrow shares, “The people who usually represent government are older, they have established careers, and they don’t have the young perspective. They’re making these decisions that are going to impact us for the next 50, 60 years.”
Dreyer states, “I had to give my opinion, I had to give my peers opinion, I had to present a student consensus. And that was terrifying. And I also realized, yeah it’s really scary, but it’s also super important.”
“Hearing the opinion of someone who’s older than me, because I can learn from them and then they can also learn something from me as well,” says member, Samantha Hale.
Being part of Government for Tomorrow is not only teaching these students skills to create a functioning, successful board–
Dreyer says, “The student is getting arguably the best government class. Learning things like advanced communication and leadership, that should be translatable to whatever field they go into.
But it’s also igniting self-confidence.”
Government for Tomorrow member, Madison Mundy shares, “I was nervous, because there’s adults, you’re with adults and they’ve been doing this for however long.
It’s like a fresh experience and it kind of opens your mind up to new things as well.”
“Making a presence is really important, and then making a public comment and speaking your mind. Nothing beats the hands-on learning, and watching the meetings happen, first person and getting to ask, you know, the movers and shakers the questions,” says Arnold.
Government for Tomorrow plans on continuing to grow and expand their mission to every corner of Michigan– because they are the faces of our future.
Arnold says, “My biggest take away so far, that people really listen, people really care about what young people have to say. We just have to show up and let them know how we really feel.”