Volunteering as a high schooler in 2020: We are in the fight for our lives

By Bella Stefanowicz

Friday, October 2nd, 10:00 p.m.—

Dear Diary: So today was the last day for the Cohort model for school. It’s really scary to think that we are going back to school FULL TIME on Monday! Today was pretty crazy though: I had virtual school until 4:30 or so, then I had to leave for swim. After a 2.5 hour practice and feeling exhausted, I was about to head over to the Barn (today’s meeting place for the Butler County Democratic Committee), when mama calls me about grabbing pizzas for the other volunteers. Ugh. It’s out of my way and I’m hungry after practice. But I pick up the pizzas and drive over to the Barn, where most everyone is already working on either putting signs together or packing bags with campaign literature. I hate being late. I get my assignment and immediately, my hands are frozen. I guess summer is really over now. We’re done by 8, and I drive my brother home. Once there, I go straight up to take a shower because I have morning practice early tomorrow. Oh, and I am doing two four hour shifts this weekend; one tomorrow right after swim and the other on Sunday. Well, it’s just going to be another busy weekend I guess. PS—I got a Biden button and sticker and they are both amazing. Until tomorrow, Bella XO

Politics has always been a big part of my life. Since the tender age of two, I have volunteered for several of my grandmother’s campaigns, for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012 alongside my mom and younger brother, and now here I am again, volunteering in 2020.

My mom has always been an avid campaigner and even ran for PA state representative in 2014. Honestly, between my sport and schoolwork, I have not been as involved with the Democratic Committee for the past several years as I would have liked. But now is not the time to dwell in the past. Now is the time to stand up for our country and fight for our democracy. Now—more than ever— we are in the fight for our lives. We need everyone to step up, especially my generation.

Think about your social media; have you ever posted about an issue, supporting or refuting it? If you answered yes, giving an afternoon of your time two weekends could make more of a difference for that issue than 1,000 views or likes on your post. Pick just one issue that troubles you about our country right now—whether it be the racial divide, climate change, or the mishandling of COVID-19—and use it as motivation to volunteer.

Community service brings out the good in people and unifies us in a way not many other things do. Even though I have little spare time, I still feel the need to put myself out there for the betterment of our communities, states, and nation. I understand the negative feelings about volunteering, especially with everything going on now with the Coronavirus, and that it can be scary or feel impossible for a 16 or 17-year-old “kid.” But, the reality is, when you volunteer on a political campaign, you get to spend time with friends, build new relationships, add some hours to your resume (*wink wink*), and serve your own community.

I want you to know that your voice and your activism matter as you think about your future college, career, and even family plans. If you have any empty holes in your calendar this month that need filling, strongly consider volunteering for your local Democratic candidates running for State Representative, State Senate, U.S. Congress, and for your Democratic presidential and vice-presidential candidates, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They all need your help as the election date (November 3rd) is fast-approaching.

The Butler County Democratic Committee has done a wonderful job of organizing different volunteering activities, Weekends of Action, canvassing days, and ways to Get Out the Vote thus far, but they need people to bring them to life. People like YOU.

Check out the candidates for state and local office on the Our Candidates page of this website.

Bella Stefanowicz is a senior at Seneca Valley School District.