OLYMPIA - Whether it's donating that old sweater, taking two minutes to register to vote online, or signing up for government Twitter feeds, Secretary of State Sam Reed next week starts a statewide push to fire up Washington's youth to find just one thing that will get them more engaged in their communities.
As part of the state's fourth annual College Civics Week, Reed is joining college students to promote the agency's new effort "Find Your One Thing." The weeklong event, from April 13 to 17, will focus on getting young people on 23 campuses to take small steps toward civic engagement.
"Being a contributor in your community doesn't mean have to turn your life upside down. Even one small action can make an impact and encourage those around you," said Reed. "This week I'm partnering with young people across Washington as we start asking the question: What is one more thing I can do to make a difference in my community?"
Echoing President Obama's national Call to Service, "Find Your One Thing" is Reed's latest effort to get young people involved in their government. On the Web, the public can join the "Find Your One Thing" cause on Facebook and share "one thing" to help their communities. They can also take an online Civics Challenge and see how they stack up against their peers. These online tools can be accessed at www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/collegecivics .
During College Civics Week, campuses will host their own unique events - Reed will participate in a Green Week fashion show at one school, and will kick off a Relay for Life event at another. Other events include classroom chats, civics forums and game shows.
"These are tough times in Washington," said Reed. "We can't afford to be passive anymore - we can't afford to sit back instead of rolling up our sleeves and lending a hand. It's time to take action."
Reed's visits for the week include:
Monday, April 13 -Centralia Community College, Lower Columbia College, Clark College, Washington State University-Vancouver.
Tuesday, April 14 - Pierce College-Steilacoom, Pierce College-Puyallup, Bates Technical College, Green River Community College, Seattle Pacific University.
Wednesday, April 15 - Grays Harbor College, Peninsula College, Northwest Indian College, Western Washington University.
Thursday, April 16 -Central Washington University, Yakima Valley Community College, Washington State University - Tri-Cities, Whitman College, Walla Walla University.
Friday, April 17 - Spokane Falls Community College, Spokane Community College, Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, Whitworth College.
College Civics Week is put on by the agency's College Civics Program and funded by the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), a law that was adopted in 2000 to help with voter education. Reed is interested in boosting registration and voter turnout among younger voters, traditionally those with the lowest participation rate of any sector of the voting population.