My first grade year fell on an election year. The school I attended participated in "Kids Voting" and I got to cast my very first (pretend) ballot. I got a sticker at the end -- the same the adults received -- and I have a clear memory of feeling elated in getting to participate.
In third grade, my teacher read the front page headlines and summarized the stories of the local newspaper to us every single morning. After school, I would wait for my dad to get home from work and then steal his paper to read the rest of the articles. That teacher sparked my first interest in a world bigger than my neighborhood.
My senior year of high school I was able to cast my very first (real) ballot in the presidential primaries. Today, several election cycles later, I get to vote again. The feeling of elation in getting to participate is still as strong as it has ever been.
There is a world bigger than you and your voice helps shape it. From presidential leaders, to equal rights for same-sex couples, to equal pay for women, to local judges, to which ingredients have to be listed on the foods you buy in the supermarket, your voice matters.