Earlier this year, Our Children Oregon invited all Oregonians age 24 and under to apply for a paid, 8-month youth leadership opportunity to plan and implement a youth-powered debate for the state’s next governor. The Youth ACT Leaders Team is composed of nine youth from across the state that are passionate about improving the lives of Oregon’s children and families. 

Meet the nine selected youth dedicating their time, energy, and expertise to ensuring youth voice is heard and elevated to the candidates for Oregon’s next Governor. The DFOF is an ACTivity of Our Children Oregon’s All Children Thrive Collective (ACT). 

Meet our 2022 Youth ACT Leadership Team Members:

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Liem (she/her), 12 yrs old, 7th grade, Beaverton

Liem hopes to gain experience and become a better and stronger leader through the Youth ACT Leaders program. She wants to know what to expect for the future. Liem looks forward to meeting new people and friends.  

Q: If you could ask the current governor a question, what would it be?

A: “What are your plans in the future in regards to the homelessness crisis.”

Kalia (she/her), 17 yrs old, HS junior, Redmond

Kalia wants to learn the different lengths they are allowed to expand their ideas and how far they can go as Youth ACT Leaders. She hopes to gain more understanding of as many viewpoints as possible and to know enough of the details in order to build effective plans. She would also like to focus on significant problems and build goals to help work towards each one of them. 

“It’s time for youth to be heard. Be able to live life vs. only survive.”

Q: If you could ask the current governor a question, what would it be?

A: “If I could ask the current Oregon governor, Kate Brown, a question, I would also ask if there’s a way to bring child abuse education into schools, as there’s education such as sex ed.”

Gigi (she/her), 16 yrs old, Milwaukie

As a Youth ACT Leader, Gigi (Milwaukie, OR) hopes to learn how to successfully plan events. She wants to practice using her motivation to change, innovate and actually do something about it. She also hopes to improve her public speaking skills. 

Q: If you could ask the current governor a question, what would it be?

A: “What moment do you wish you had handled differently in your time as governor?”

Susana (she/her), 18 yrs, 12th grade, Seaside

As a Youth ACT Leader, Susana hopes to learn how to find new strategies to help low-income families and how to advocate about mental health. She also wishes to learn more about the Oregon Welfare Act and create change for a better future in Oregon. 

Q: If you could ask the current Oregon governor a question, what would it be?

A: “Knowing this is your last year with us due to the end of your term what would be one thing you wish you could enforce to help Oregon as a whole?”

Jake (he/his), 14 yrs, 8th grade, Portland

As a Youth ACT Leader, Jake hopes to learn how to organize and motivate youth for change! 

Q: If you could ask the current Oregon governor a question, what would it be?

A: “What do you wish you had accomplished as governor?” 

Caroline (she/her), 17 yrs, Albany

As a Youth ACT Leader, Caroline (Albany, OR) hopes to gain leadership and organizational skills working with a diverse team of youth. She wants  to learn more about the most significant issues and concerns Oregon’s youth are facing, especially those with backgrounds and lived experiences different from her own. Caroline wants to learn about the different strategies youth can use to advocate to politicians and other adults in power for their needs and desires, especially through effective storytelling. 

Q: If you could ask the current Oregon governor a question, what would it be?

A: “What is your philosophy on the role of youth in government, and what initiatives do you have in place to cultivate civic involvement among youth and engage them in the lawmaking process?”

Jax (he/him), 21 yrs, 15th grade (college junior), Benton County

As a Youth ACT Leader, Jax hopes to meet and connect with more people in the professional world. He’s looking forward to connecting with younger peers, who experienced covid in middle school or high school, and learn about their experiences and insights. Jax is eager to engage with candidates’ platforms and learn more about how OCO addresses or accommodates different political views. 

Q: If you could ask the current Oregon governor a question, what would it be?

A: “What do you believe your greatest policy failure has been as governor?”

Walker (they/them), 14 yrs, Halfway

Walker hopes to learn more about the future of native lands and how we may protect them, how we can secure rights for LGTBQA+ folks, and how we may secure abortion rights. 

Q: If you could ask the current Oregon governor a question, what would it be? 

A: “Are you going to pursue any future political positions after governor?”

Curious to know more about our Youth ACT Leadership program?

Learn more or share with someone that might be interested in becoming or supporting our Youth ACT Leaders!