Choosing the Top 24 Under 24

July 4, 2013

This Fourth of July the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council is recognizing a group of 24 incredible young people who share two things in common: they are under 24 and working to change government.  Their involvement is Republican, Democratic, Independent and non-partisan and ranges from small towns to entire states.

Meet the Winners!

These 24 young people demonstrate the power of our generation to accomplish change not just in the future but right now.  They are examples of the change that young people are bringing to communities across the country. While we will hold them up today as role models, it is important to recognize that they are not alone.  There are thousands of young people making a difference across the country every day.

This year on global youth service day, 1,623 service projects were completed by young people from all fifty states. Additionally, 2.4 million youth took action through last year, and members of the 400+ youth councils helped improve their towns, cities and states across the U.S. The point is there are a lot of awesome young people doing incredible things.  So, how did we get to the top 24 under 24?

The Selection Process

Through the online submission process, we received and vetted more than 75 comprehensive nominations of absolutely incredible young people from all across the country.  The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council leadership team worked to narrow the list down.  We judged nominations on a one to five scale.  The leadership team read nominations first looking to see whether the activity the nominee was nominated for was related to government.  We received many incredible nominations that didn’t have to do with government and for this list wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before.

The next thing that was looked at was the impact that each nominee was able to have.  We did our best with this as the length and depth of detail of each nomination varied.  There was no rubric so each member could evaluate each application as a whole.  To determine the final 24 we tallied up everyone’s scores for each nomination and divided by six – the number of leadership team members that reviewed the applications.

We found broad consensus among the leadership team in the final top 24 Under 24 Youth Changemakers.  These 24 demonstrate a diversity of examples about how young people are improving government.  Take a look at the profiles to see for yourself.

And now, three big thank yous.  The first thank you is to everyone who nominated someone to be recognized as the top 24 under 24.  The stories and quality of nominations were inspiring.  Second is to my Campaign Leadership Team (Avantika Krishna, Allison Wu, Grant Jirka, Luis Navia, Sean Weller, and Sarah Murray) for taking the time to thoroughly review each application.  Finally, thank you to the Knight Foundation for their generous support allowing SparkAction to help us make this project a reality.

Please take a moment of your day and read through the profiles of the Top 24 Under 24 Youth Changemakers.  They show that my generation is ready to lead in improving government now; we just need to be given the opportunity to do so at the national level.

Meet the Top 24 Under 24 Youth Changemakers


The Top 24 Under 24 Youth Changemakers series recognizes young people who are strengthening our democracy through their involvement in policymaking and governance at the local, state or national level. It is a joint project of SparkAction and the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council.

About the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council

The Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council is a bi-partisan, youth-led initiative, to establish a Presidential Youth Council, comprising young Americans ages 16 to 24, to advise the President on the perspectives of youth, offer suggestions on the design and implementation of youth policies, and to create shared recommendations on issues that will affect the long-term future of our country.

About SparkAction is a collaborative, nonprofit journalism and advocacy network to mobilize action for and by young people.  Under a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, SparkAction is helping to support the work of the Campaign, including curating and distributing the Top 24 Under 24 Youth Changemakers series.

This post is part of the youth-curated Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council blog, published in partnership with SparkAction.

Alex Wirth