JSA State: Midwest
What has your chapter done to help your local community and/or beyond?
We constantly encourage our members to sign up for volunteering opportunities our schools offer. Recently we encouraged our members to sign up for immigration activist training and had many sign-ups.
It was an interfaith opportunity with high school and college-aged young adults to learn about immigration issues facing our nation and discuss how to address these issues by applying our civic and religious values. By dialoguing with migrants, activists, elected officials, and each other, participants come away with a clearer understanding of our immigration system and the human beings it impacts and learning skills to advocate for compassionate reform of that system.
We also had some of our members meet up in person to help out with a food bank and assist with passing out vaccines through our school. They helped serve over 900 families in Waukegan, Illinois and we are striving to be a ray of light through some difficult times we are going through.
How has your chapter been active as representatives of JSA?
Our chapter meets weekly and has been engaging and has many thought talks, debates, and workshops within our chapter. Along with this, we have had our members participate in conventions held by other chapters and midwest JSA to get them more experiences with debates. We try to be as active as possible with JSA, from starting our own chapter's Instagram account to help spread the message of JSA.
Lastly, we have been planning and preparing our own chapter convention, which took place in March. Our chapter is extremely committed to continuing to spread the message of JSA despite being a new chapter, and we hope to take our chapter influence deep into the future.
How does your chapter work to increase participation and spread awareness of JSA?
We constantly announce any new updates or events from JSA to our members to give them the chance to participate. This is exemplified through having members register to conventions, join advocacy workshops, or participate in any other JSA-related activities. We have many new members, so this whole JSA concept is new to them. We make sure we work with them to make sure they can be the best JSA members.
Like we mentioned before, we have had our members participate in conventions held by other chapters and Midwest JSA to get them more experiences with debates. We try to be as active as possible with JSA, from starting our own chapters' Instagram account to help spread the message of JSA.
How does your chapter encourage the non-partisan aspect of JSA to help students feel comfortable to speak and to be active?
Many of our members are new and have never done a debate before, so we have done many workshops to help them get comfortable with speaking. First, we have had many thought talks in small groups and added people with diverse opinions. We had executive members lead each group and had them hear out each member's thoughts to make sure members heard all perspectives.
There was a chapter on Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) at our school. It's similar to JSA in that they both relate to politics and are by and for the young Americans. The main goal of the Chapter was to diminish the "stigma" on conservatism. We reached out to their members and chapter to consider joining JSA for more political discourse. They helped our chapter explore different political perspectives. Their vice president and the president have been very active and engaging members of our chapters.