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Teen Peers Increase their Leadership Roles in Climate Lobby Training

by Lilly Lombard
One of the Truth School’s most popular trainings, “Harnessing the Unique Power of Teens to Advance Climate Legislation,” is jumping to a new level this winter as graduates of the previous trainings—flush with experience in delivering statehouse testimonies, leading marches, making public speeches, and arranging meetings with their legislators—step up to mentor a new set of teen climate activists in classes that will be held in January and March.

Teens, including 10 graduates of the Truth School's climate lobby training, led a recent climate march in downtown Northampton.
Teens, including 10 graduates of the Truth School’s climate lobby training, led a recent climate march in downtown Northampton. (Photo courtesy of Rene Theberge.)

At the last teen climate lobby training in October, ten students from West Boylston, MA, (outside of Worcester) traveled with their Social Justice Club to Northampton to take our three-hour class. There, they met five teen climate activists from Northampton, Amherst, and Greenfield and practiced public speaking skills together by video-recording one another making powerful statements about climate action.

This model of peer mentoring was so successful that the teaching role of teens’ who have previously taken the class will expand in the next teen climate lobby training, on January 8. In addition to teaching and practicing powerful public speaking skills, the teen graduates will lead a Q&A as they share their experiences as youth climate lobbyists, legislative interns, rally speakers, and videographers. They will also facilitate break-out groups, in which they will help peers brainstorm and prioritize tangible post-training goals and action steps.

Max Shannon, Madeleine Lombard, and Aislyn Jewett testifying about climate legislation to a packed room at the MA State House.
Max Shannon, Madeleine Lombard, and Aislyn Jewett testifying about climate legislation to a packed room at the MA State House.

Teen trainers in January will include:

  • Aislyn Jewett (sophomore, Northampton High School)
  • Annika Johnson (junior, Williston Northampton School)
  • Madeleine Lombard (junior, Four Rivers Charter Public School)
  • Leif Maynard (junior, Amherst Regional High School)
  • Max Shannon (homeschool student)
  • Cherilyn Strader (junior, Northampton High School)

In addition to the January 8 class offered at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst, MA, we will also offer a teen climate lobby class offered in Greenfield, MA on Sunday, March 25.

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