Education Outside of the Classroom

The following is a continuation in a series highlighting members of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey.

As Jesse Burns left college to enter an entirely different world, she began to miss an environment that encouraged political discourse and social activism and yearned for a way to continue debating and studying policy issues. Her desires became a reality after she applied for a position with the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. It was a place she felt a connection with and it allowed her to become more involved in the community. Jesse says others should get involved with the League because:

“…the League is a multi-issue organization—registers voters, runs debates and holds educational forums— there is a place for every interest. So long as you have a core belief that participating in government is important, there is a place for you in the League.”

One of the most important aspects of the League is that it encourages active participation in government. It is possibly the most crucial part of a democratic society. Jesse recognizes how important voting is but thinks it may be even more important to understand what exactly you’re voting for. While discussing this, Jesse says:

“Get to know the candidates, know where they stand on issues that are important to you, and make an informed decision in every election— whether it’s voting for the school board or the President.”

Knowledge about candidates and issues can really shape our society for the better. Without knowledge we are unable to make informed decisions about how to vote. This is why the League is such an vital aspect of our community. Not only does it play a positive role in our community, but it has a huge impact on League members and staff. How has the League shaped Jesse’s life? Jesse says:

“It’s offered me an education I haven’t been able to find elsewhere. It’s incredible what I have been able to learn from other League members. Often, subjects that I thought I wasn’t interested in have come alive when listening to others’ passion.”

While working at the League, Jesse’s passion only grew stronger and allowed her to make a huge impact on the community. As the Communications Director, Jesse has been able to get the word out about the League through newsletters, the League’s Facebook page, and blogs. She has also worked hard to get election information out to the public like candidates’ answers to policy questions, analysis of public questions, and voting rights information.

Jesse was able to have an impact on such a wonderful organization at a young age. While speaking about the importance of younger generations to join the League, Jesse says:

“The League has a lot to offer to young people. It extends their education outside of the classroom and looks wonderful on a resume. The League offers them training that they won’t find elsewhere including how to moderate debates, working on a board and in committees, and advocating for certain legislation.”

Younger generations of women and men need to develop the same passion that Jesse has for the League. Their participation in the League can greatly benefit the community while positively contributing to their own lives. When speaking about her favorite part of the League, Jesse says:

“My favorite part of the League is the people I’ve met. League members have become role models to me.”

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