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A PROJECT THAT AMPLIFIED YOUTH VOICE DURING THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Letters to the Next President 2.0 was a reboot of the large scale youth participation project sponsored by the National Writing Project and Google during the 2008 election. In 2008 over 10,000 young people from across 800 schools took up the challenge of identifying, researching, and writing publicly about issues that mattered to them, their families, and their communities. With support from teachers and mentors, the resulting websites, news coverage, and publications brought the voices of young people into the public discourse and invited young people around the country to write letters to the future president about their concerns, hopes, and perspectives.

In 2016, the National Writing Project and KQED partnered to open up the Letters to the Next President writing and publishing experience to a next generation of young people and the educators who work with them—but did so with the expanded array of tools and technologies young people have at their disposal.

How L2P 2.0 Worked

L2P 2.0 started by supporting teachers and mentors thinking about how to engage their students in the 2016 election. Throughout the Spring and Summer of 2016, L2P 2.0 gathered a wide range of partners to provide resources, host live conversations, and point to technology tools that educators could use with the young people they work with. The L2P 2.0 monthly bulletin, as well as the Letters to the Next President 2.0 website, was the educator’s guide to what was coming up. All were encouraged to participate and we welcomed contributions to the community discussions on social media using the hashtag #2nextprez.

In late July, L2P 2.0 launched the Letters to the Next President 2.0 showcase site where young people 13–18 published their writing or multimedia work to share their perspectives on issues and topics most important to them with readers from around the country. The site was open for publication by youth up until election day, and will remain open to promote and highlight youth voice and work into the inaugural year.