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Mount Vernon Kids Encourage Voter Registration

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Children with the Freedom Schools program through the Grace Baptist Church Children’s Defense Fund marched through the streets of Mount Vernon near Longfellow Middle School Wednesday afternoon to encourage people to register to vote.

“We are teaching the kids social action,” said Franceska Jean, psychology coordinator for Freedom Schools. “I think it’s important in a community like Mount Vernon because a lot of these kids have become lost. We want them to know what their abilities are and teach them what they can do and become anything they set their minds to.”

Children from Freedom Schools held homemade signs encouraging voter registration and chanted as they went into the community. Project Director Brandon Corley said Freedom Schools wants to expose kids to the history of voting in the United States and show them how important it is.

“We want them, when they are old enough to vote, to be accustomed to it so they are expected to register,” Corley said. “We need to instill this at an early age, so when they are older and more intelligent it will be a learned behavior.”

Miracle Neville, a junior at Nellie A. Thornton High School who works with Freedom Schools over the summer, said a lot of people her age don’t know about the importance of voting. Neville said if the younger kids are exposed to what it is, they will be more informed by the time they are old enough to register to vote.

“We encourage them to ask questions so we can fill them in at a young age and help them develop better knowledge about what is going on,” Neville said.

Corley said that part of the program is to educate children about the history of voting and how people died to gain the right to pick their leaders.

“With the state of our country now, the political process is crazy,” Corley said. “We have to teach them that, if they come together, they can potentially change the system. We want them to understand what it is and how they can affect it.”

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