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we are driven to make you an agent of change

 

 

 
 

what is next?

 

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For youth, by youth.

America’s vibrant and enduring democracy has served as a model for countries across the globe. Yet overall success masks pervasive inequalities within our political system. Though equal citizens, young adults are consistently less politically engaged than their adult counterparts, from voting, to campaigning, to holding office. Research suggests this isn’t fundamentally a problem of motivation—rather, it is a matter of resources. Too often, youth want to engage in politics, but simply do not have the networks or know-how to generate impact.

NEXT is a youth-run non-profit organization driven to empower youth of any ideology, background, or identity to effect the political change they desire. We match dedicated, high-potential youth with experienced, connected peer mentors who can provide the resources, structure, and connections necessary to thrive in the modern political world.

 

becomE a next fellow

Summer 2018 fellow applications will open may 1, 2018. sign up for our newsletter for further updates.

 

Step 1: Connect

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Complete an introductory survey. We will work to accommodate all submissions. We will follow up to schedule a call to get to know you better and lay out expectations. We welcome youth of all backgrounds and ideologies.

Step 2: Build an Action Plan

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We will match you with an experienced peer mentor who will share their personal knowledge, resources, and connections to empower you to achieve tangible political impact. Your mentor will schedule weekly one-on-one calls to structure strategic action plans with you. 

 Step 3: Take Action

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Working with your mentor for three months you will build your political skillset while generating meaningful political change. Our fellows build impactful non-profits, run for political office, and write influential thought pieces. Their work often continues well beyond NEXT.

 
 

NEXT in action

 
 
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Ryan Hubbard is helping youth engage with causes they care about.

"My name is Ryan Hubbard. I am the Founder & President of Youth Global Advocacy PAC (youthgapac.com). Our ultimate goal is to provide young individuals with the opportunity and tools to gain experience and exposure to advocacy, political and non-political campaigns."

 
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Jinyang Zhang is helping students think about careers, colleges, and their interests.

"One day in science class, my teacher mentioned that he wishes high schools would provide internships for students as credit for them to learn about the opportunities out there. As I was laying in yoga class, I continued to think about what my science teacher mentioned. “How cool would it be to talk to a psychologist?” Suddenly, a light bulb went off in my head."

 
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Alicia Sagastume is helping to make theater accessible to everyone.

"My name is Alicia Sagastume and I’m a freshman at Assumption College. I have an inherent interest in community service and a passion for theatre. I knew I wanted to combine these two aspects of my life and through NEXT it was a success. I am in the process of creating a scholarship for children who want to participate in local theatre programs, but don’t have the means to.

 
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Aarushi Machavarapu is fighting to promote equality and intersectionality.

"Through NEXT, I have gained insightful skills on how to pursue my activism goals by embracing my young age and using it to defeat the stereotype surrounding youth and their goals. I have often felt embarrassed and undervalued when talking to adults about my social impact organization or the goals I have in place to help promote equality and intersectionality; but as a fellow for NEXT, I learned to turn all my doubts into determination to succeed and educate others about social impact. 

 
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Benjamin Carme is providing accessible stress relief to students who need it.

In a world of radical politics and endless divides, where is the time to problem solve and work things out? Everyone is constantly fighting and trying to pull each other separate ways, when no one is focusing on the real, important issues at hand. I have been working with my team on developing a guided “safe space” for students in high school, to come together from all ends of the political spectrum and problem solve using social media campaigns and partaking in events and protests.

OUR TEAM

 
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Aditi Chitkara

Programs Co-Director

Aditi is from a town in the Himalayas. Fun fact #1: She could see wildlife from her bedroom window, which got her into wildlife photography. She cares about women’s rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and accessible education for all. In her free time, she does photography (not wildlife related anymore) and creates art. Fun fact #2: She buys sweatpants in the men’s department because pockets. She’s involved with NEXT because she met Scott in her Sociology class, and I the energy with which he talked about NEXT made her really want to get involved. He’s empowering youth already!

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Brett Dowling

Digital Director

Brett grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia—he’ll be the first to call it the most beautiful place on earth! He is passionate about tax reform, balanced budgets, and the environment. In his spare time, Brett enjoys downhill skiing, playing the guitar, finding new restaurants, and cooking. Fun fact: Brett has never owned an Apple product. He is excited to make youth of all backgrounds and ideological positions comfortable working with NEXT.

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Scott Kall

Operations Director

Scott is from a small suburban town in Massachusetts. He is passionate about LGBTQ+ rights and, no surprise, youth engagement in politics! Aside from his work with NEXT, he is a theater-lover, a coffee enthusiast, and an avid Game of Thrones fan. One fun fact about Scott is that he hiccups like a pterodactyl (it’s true – everyone else on the board can attest to it!) Scott is involved with NEXT because at his very core, he believes that young people have the potential and the capacity to change the world for the better. Through this work, Scott has seen firsthand the incredible ideas his generation has to offer, and he wants to play his part in ensuring every young person has the ability and resources to make a change.

 

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Becca Leviss

Director of Analytics

Becca is from Barrington, Rhode Island--small state, big heart! She cares deeply about reproductive rights, gender equality, and racial justice. In her free time, she loves exploring the local environment around her, though she's just as comfortable adventuring around Boston as she is binge-watching Netflix documentaries. She loves taking long walks with friends and cooking family recipes while singing show tunes at the top of her lungs. Becca believes that young people have the passion and the ability to create a profound impact on the world around them, but face the fundamental obstacle of plugging in to activist landscapes. She is confident that NEXT can fill that gap and construct powerful networks of activists and change-seekers.

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Nadya Okamoto

Spokesperson, Director of Public Relations

Nadya is from the Portland area. Nadya is the Founder and Executive Director of PERIOD, the world’s largest youth-run NGO in women’s health, and one of the fastest growing youth-run NGOs in the United States. Nadya knows, from her personal experience, the importance of coaching and mentorship in paving the way as a young entrepreneur and a young political candidate (in 2017 she ran for Cambridge City Council), and that is why she is passionate about the mission of NEXT.

 

 

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Esteban Ortiz

Director of Communications

Esteban was born and raised in New York. He cares deeply about gun control, immigration reform, and prison reform. In his free time, he loves to listen to music, hang out with friends, and go to the gym. He is also the first Soundcloud rapper without purple dreadlocks or red braids. On a more serious note, Esteban knows he can bring his knowledge of civic participation to NEXT alongside his own experiences with local politics.

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Reed Shafer-Ray

Programs Co-Director

Reed hails from Norman, Oklahoma, and is an avid fan of Oklahoma college football and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since Reed helped lead a petition drive to build storm shelters in schools after a tornado killed seven elementary school children in their neighboring town, Reed has been active in politics. As the Legislative Director of the Harvard College Democrats, Reed created a lobbying team that has held five lobby days at the Massachusetts State House, and has successfully filed and lobbied for several bills. Reed co-founded NEXT in order to help inspire and teach youth how to make a difference in their own communities, using the experience they accumulated.

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Hirsh Sisodia

Creative & Messaging Director

Hirsh is from Harleysville, Pennsylvania, and will never not mention that (it’s a great town!). He cares most about education and youth entrepreneurship. When he’s not listening to The Roots, watching Conan, or trying to write, he spends his time thinking about how young people can make the most of the opportunities today’s world presents. Since he was a kid, Hirsh has been waiting for the right time to get politically active. NEXT matters to him because it’s exactly what he wishes he’d had then - a reminder to stop waiting and start doing.