The Washington Bus Education Fund Programs
To remedy a lack of youth leadership development opportunities, the Bus launched the Fellows Program in 2009.
The Fellows Program is a comprehensive, nine-week leadership program for 18- to 24-year-olds. Fellows receive training on public policy and state politics, lead grassroots organizing efforts, and gain real-world experience. Young people leave the program equipped with on-the-ground experience, leadership training, and effective organizing skills.
No program better illustrates the Bus's growing impact than our campus engagement program. Run by a Bus volunteer-turned-staff and a Bus Fellows graduate, it is of young people, by young people, for all people. The result: in partnership with the Youth Vote Coalition, we registered 14,357 young voters who are now poised to take the next step into civic life.
Face-to-face interaction is the best way to encourage someone to vote, and Halloween is the one day of the year that people expect someone to come to their door. The Bus hosts Trick or Vote, a nonpartisan get-out-the-vote effort. In 2012, the Bus knocked on thousands of doors statewide for Trick or Vote. Through targeting youth-dense neighborhoods with high voter drop-off, Trick or Vote effectively addresses low rates of participation among young people.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2012, the Bus’s campus engagement program coordinated the Youth Vote Coalition to register a whopping 14,357 young voters.
However, civic engagement is not a turnkey operation. The smartest thing we can do is to continue investing in the capacity of our young voters. It takes (sustainable) fuel to ensure the Bus's unprecedented results this year take root as long-term outcomes. The Bus is the proven vehicle for people-powered democracy.