Like any good organization, Teens in Politics was born out of its founder recognizing the need for a service. Teens in Politics was founded in the spring of 2018 by James Kuntz, a high school student at the Dalton School in New York. James, who became interested in politics at the start of the 2016 election cycle, was trying to find a political internship for himself. To his dismay, there were very few resources that connected high school students with political internships. Traditional job posting sites such as Linkedin and Glassdoor were intimidating, and failed to delineate which opportunities would accept applicants his age.
After considering how he could address this problem, James decided to call the offices of local elected officials to see if they were willing to accept interns his age. Initially expecting swift rejections, James was pleasantly surprised by how many offices were willing to accept interns ages 16 and older. In fact, many of the offices he called were understaffed, and jumped at the opportunity to have more hands on deck.
OUR 2019 RESOLUTIONS
I. Cover the Entirety of New York State
Currently, our organization provides internships in New York City. However, we recognize that there are millions of teenagers elsewhere that live in other boroughs, and in the rest of New York state. As a result, in 2019, Teens in Politics will reach out to elected officials outside of Manhattan to gauge their willingness to accept teenage interns. It is our goal that at the end of the year every New York teenager will have a internship opportunity within a 30 minute drive of them. This leads us to our next goal:
II. Have a Teens in Politics Internship at Every NY Congressional Office
Another one of our goals is for all 27 House districts in the State to set aside at least one internship vacancy for teenage applicants. While internships for members of Congress are traditionally reserved for college students, many high school students possess the skills and maturity necessary for such positions.
III. Spread the Message
In early December, founder James Kuntz spoke to the senior class at Middle College High School. Kuntz was invited by guidance counselor Michael Cooper, whom Kuntz had contacted as part of Teens in Politics’ outreach effort. Incidentally, Kuntz stumbled upon a useful promotional tactic. Going forward in 2019, Teens in Politics will make a concerted effort to reach out to more high schools, both in New York City and in Upstate. Hopefully Middle College High School will be the first of many appearances at high schools.
IV. Host an Event
Our last objective for the New Year is to host an event promoting youth political engagement. Planning for such an event is currently in the preliminary stages. Ideally, the event would feature elected officials from the New York City area, who could use their first hand experience in politics to attest to the importance of youth engagement.
What You Can Do to Help Us
If you’re interested in helping us further our mission of providing political internships to teenagers, feel free to contact us. If you’re interested in an internship for yourself, please check out our internships page.
Best wishes for 2019!
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