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 The Bible calls Christians to pray for their government leaders. And at this year’s Advocacy Summit, four high school students from Texas had the opportunity to fulfill that call in person with their member of Congress!

Igniting a passion for service and action

The Advocacy Summit brought hundreds of World Vision supporters togethers on Capitol Hill to speak up about growing child hunger. Attendees came from 32 states and all walks of life, including pastors, teachers, farmers, and military service members. But this year, a new group of Advocates joined in the effort — Youth Advocates.

Students from World Vision’s Ignite high school program made up roughly 25% of the Advocates at the summit . Through Ignite, World Vision partners with Christian schools across the nation to introduce students to the challenges children face around the world, offering them experiential learning opportunities that equip them to make a difference. The trip to D.C. was a culminating event for students and a chance to put what they’d learned into action.

Students from World Vision’s Ignite program flying into D.C. to attend Advocacy Summit on ending child hunger. (©2023 World Vision/Submitted)

Speaking up against child hunger

During the first two days of the summit , Ignite students learned about the growing global hunger crisis — and how children are bearing the brunt . They heard from World Vision’s policy and program experts, went on a virtual trip to see World Vision’s work around the world, and met with Advocates and students from other schools.

On the third and final day, students got to put their learning and advocacy skills into practice during a full day of meetings with their congressional offices. “Students bring excitement and energy to the Hill,” said World Vision Senior Policy Advisor Nate Lance, who served as the state leader for the Texas team. “You could just tell the offices we met with were impressed with how prepared the Ignite students were and their ability to voice their passion for the needs of vulnerable children.”

“At the Advocacy Summit, I felt like I had a seat at the table.”

Sam, Youth Advocate

For the Texas team’s first few meetings, adult Advocates took the lead, giving the students a chance to observe and get used to the process. Then, the team asked if the students wanted to lead the meeting with Rep. Nathaniel Moran’s office. The students agreed and began to decide on a plan for who would say what. Just a few minutes before the scheduled meeting, the Texas team got word that Rep. Moran himself would be joining the meeting. “Speaking in front of a member of Congress can be nerve-racking, so I wanted to make sure the students were still up to lead the meeting,” Lance said. “With some encouragement, they were more excited and more determined to put their new skills to the test.”

The Texas students began the meeting by introducing themselves and sharing why they were passionate about ending child hunger. They gave the congressman information about the current global hunger crisis and its dire and far-reaching effects on children. Finally, they asked Rep. Moran to support legislation that would prioritize children and build sustainable solutions to hunger and malnutrition. “At the Advocacy Summit, I felt like I had a seat at the table,” said Sam, one of the Youth Advocates on the Texas team . “I felt the information I shared with my state representatives was a key part to help them understand our heart. I plan to share what I’ve learned with my classmates and hope I can always be an Advocate for World Vision.”

World Vision Advocates came to Capitol Hill from 32 states to help amplify the voices of children facing hunger. (©2023 World Vision)

Closing in prayer (and with a private tour of the Capitol Building!)

World Vision’s advocacy is rooted in faith and in the Bible’s numerous examples of faith-based advocates. If appropriate, Advocates close each congressional meeting in prayer. Continuing that tradition, the Texas students asked Rep. Moran if they could pray for him. Together, Rep. Moran and the Texas team prayed for their state, Congress’s leadership, and the children around the world who will feel the ripple effect of D.C.’s decisions.

Just as students thought their time on Capitol Hill was at an end, Rep. Moran invited them and their chaperone to join him at the Capitol Building later that night for a private tour guided by the congressman himself!

“The Advocacy Summit was amazing and enlightening and encouraging,” said Olivia, another Youth Advocate. “I will remember this for the rest of my life. It made me realize I have a voice and can use that voice for the benefit of others.”

World Vision’s faith-rooted advocacy

World Vision partners with families and communities around the world to tackle poverty at its roots . Our staff and donors understand the needs of the communities we serve and are driven by faith in Christ to respond. Advocacy is simply sharing that passion and understanding with decision makers. “I’ve been at World Vision for nearly 15 years, and I’m still humbled by how faithful our donors are in stewarding their resources to support the mission,” said Megan Pratt, senior manager of grassroots organizing . “Advocacy is just one more way people can make a lasting difference by stewarding the voice God has given them.”

Will you use your voice to make a difference?

Join our team of Advocates!

As an Advocate, you’ll be educated and equipped to meet with your leaders and their staff. We mobilize two times a year, primarily virtually (on Zoom), to educate our members of Congress about the challenges children face. This February, we’ll continue speaking up about global hunger and proven solutions.

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