Rather than sleeping in until noon like most kids would regularly do on a day off from school, our teens at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue met with one hundred other members of Boys & Girls Clubs from across Washington at the State Capitol building in Olympia. These proactive teens spent their day of service touring the Legislative Building, watching House of Representatives sessions live from a balcony, and taking selfies in front of the bust of Benjamin Franklin. The most impressive part of the day, however, was when the President of our Keystone group, Nathalie Cruz, 18 (second from the left), led a discussion on law reform with State Senator Steve Litzow.
On our way to Olympia, Nathalie prepared her questions for Senator Litzow regarding House Bill 1817. Senator Litzow’s main priority as the chairman of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee is working to ensure funding for public schools and reshaping policy to improve academic achievements. Initially, Nathalie’s questions were met by the Senator with a scratch of the head… “House Bill 1817, 1817… you’re going to need to give me the topic here!” he laughed under his breath. Natalie went on to describe The Washington Dream Act, a proposed bill that would make the state’s largest financial aid program available to all students who graduate from Washington state high schools—including immigrant students. Senator Litzow declared he is in favor of the bill, but hopes to meet with the House to discuss further. Nathalie thanked him for his response and opened up the floor for discussion.
As a senior at Sammamish High School, raised in a primarily Spanish-speaking household, Nathalie’s concern with House Bill 1817 regarding equal rights for immigrant students hits close to home. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Bellevue are proud to be represented by such eager, young adults as Nathalie. While she doesn’t know what she wants to study yet, her dream is to attend University of Washington and continue her community involvement by volunteering.
Good luck Nathalie!