From April 9th-11th, Forward Montana Foundation hosted the second annual statewide Democracy Days. Democracy Days are non-partisan voter registration events led and facilitated by high school student leaders. During Democracy Days, 12 schools across the state registered over 159 voters! From Great Falls to Stevensville to Shelby, these events empowered student leaders and their peers to make real, tangible change in their communities and high schools.

Terry Bradley, facilitated and organized Democracy Days this year, “Having the opportunity to work with student leaders across the state was inspiring and left me with a new hope for the future of civic engagement. Through trainings, students developed the tools and skills to empower their communities to advocate for change through voter registration. From hosting Democracy Days in school lobbies to local grocery store, these students registered 159 Montana voters! Living in a rural state such as Montana can prove to be difficult in mobilizing and engaging our communities within the democratic process. These students leaders have proven that change for the better can start by one person, simply by voting to do so”.

Across the state, these events helped both students and their peers engage in our democracy by registering to vote and learning more about election processes. We know that these are events are so critically important– the earlier young people can get exposed to a habit or behavior, the more likely they are to continue to engage in that behavior or habit into adulthood! The 159 high school students registered across Montana during Democracy Days are our next community leaders, elected officials, and changemakers. Watch out for them!

Student facilitators reported that their Democracy Days voter registration drives were overwhelmingly positive and well received in their schools.  Interested in helping us expand the reach of Democracy Days and empower even more young folks? Make a donation today so we can expand the Democracy Days program to even more high schools in 2020!

Are you a current high schooler looking to get involved in our program?! Applications are open for our second statewide High School Fellowship program happening this Fall in communities across the state. Apply for the Fellowship today!

Amara Reese-Hansell is FMF’s Bozeman Field Manager. In the office, Amara enjoys telling poorly delivered jokes to anyone who will listen and being inspired by the young people that walk through the doors of FMT everyday. Outside the office, Amara likes to drink wine and do her homework (sometimes at the same time). She graduated from MSU in 2018 with a degree in Political Science and Women/Gender Studies.