Young people and groups that support their interests will come together for a rally Wednesday ahead of the Oct. 11 vice presidential debate.
The Step Up for Kids Rally planned for 1-2 p.m. Wednesday on the Boyle County Courthouse lawn will feature speeches and performances by students from across the area in an effort to raise awareness about issues that impact and are important to young people.
Ann Goodwin is community impact coordinator with Heart of Kentucky United Way. She said her organization took on a planning role along with Kentucky Youth Advocates, a non-profit youth advocacy organization, and the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Every Child Matters Fund.
The groups organized the event around the goal of steering public discussion during the current election cycle - the vice presidential debate included - toward issues facing children. Goodwin said the United Way's focus on improving education, health and financial stability to advance the common good fit well with the event's purpose, but emphasized a 10-person committee of students have been driving the discussion and planning for the event.
The committee was made up of students from the Danville Independent and Boyle County School Districts, as well as Danville Christian Academy and Kentucky School for the Deaf. Phoebe Ross, a senior at Danville High School, was part of the group and will be the opening speaker on Wednesday.
Ross has been hard at work promoting the event to her fellow students through Facebook, Twitter and old-fashioned phone calls and face-to-face persuasion.
“We are trying to bring in the community and get young people involved with the political process," Ross said. "We wanted to show the politicians we care about the decisions they make because their decisions affect us."
Ross said her peers are more engaged in the current election cycle because of the debate, which has sparked frequent political conversations among classmates who otherwise might not be aware of the election. She said she is interested in issues like education, the preservation of natural resources, mountain top removal coal mining and many other issues facing children in particular.
The students also hope to make a last minute appeal to debate moderator Martha Raddatz to make issues pertinent to children and future generations part of her questioning on Thursday.
Elected officials scheduled to speak include Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney, State Sen. Tom Buford and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes.
The event is one of several taking place across the state in the lead up to the November elections.
Danville senior Maya Craig-Lauer and Boyle County senior Eric Hagan recently taped a Kentucky Educational Television segment called “Student Voices - Election 2012,” which will be broadcast immediately before coverage of the vice presidential debate on Thursday night. KYA also hosted a policy forum at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville on Monday.
Activities on Wednesday will include face painting, poster making and games will take place during registration and the rally. There will be several musical performances by students during the event, as well as "4H Means Business" Youth Entrepreneurs on site selling their products.
Community partners include the Boyle County schools, CASA of Boyle and Mercer Counties, Centre College Bonner Scholars, Danville Christian Academy, Danville Independent Schools, Every Child Matters, Heart of Kentucky United Way, Kentucky Youth Advocates and Kentucky School for the Deaf.
So you know
The “Step Up for Kids Rally” will be 1-2 p.m. Wednesday at the Boyle County Courthouse. Attendees can register at the courthouse beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Welcome, by Phoebe Ross; performance by Lincoln County High School Jazz Band; Kentucky Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes; soloist Samuel Bullock; District 22 Sen. Tom Buford; Lincoln County Middle School Choir; Boyle County Judge-Executive Harold McKinney; fiddler Blakely Burger and Irish dancer Laura Couzens; closing by Calvin Steber.