Kids Voting Durham Welcomes New Youth Co-Chair

— Written By Christa Gibson
en Español

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Our Kids Voting Durham program is thrilled to announce that Shirley Garrett, a long-time Kids Voting youth leadership volunteer & intern, and board member, has been appointed as Co-Chair of the KVD Advisory Board.

JC Swansey, who has chaired the KVD Advisory Board for the last 7 years, said “Having Shirley move from youth volunteer to youth leader to now the top level of Kids Voting leadership on the Advisory Board, takes Kids Voting another step toward being youth-led in direction and vision at all levels.”

Shirley described her long history with KVD:

I began volunteering with Kids Voting Durham when I was a freshman at Durham School of the Arts. I remember our Director, Carolyn using a whiteboard to draw out the differences between the responsibilities of City vs. County government. Until that point, I never realized how much of my life was deeply influenced by decisions made by people who lived mere miles from me. That day I rushed to my parents’ car when they picked me up and excitedly shared everything I had just learned. They were long-time residents of Durham but had never voted in a municipal election. Because I was only 14 at the time, I couldn’t vote, but I learned that day that this didn’t mean I was voiceless. I attended candidate forums, helped make candidate guides, and spoke to local leaders to make sure my concerns were heard. I would then sit down with my parents and we would fill out mock ballots. I will never forget how excited they were to vote in their first municipal election. That was the excitement of an active and engaged citizen and I couldn’t wait for my turn.

I cast my first ballot after a Kids Voting Durham “Rally to the Polls” event and continued to volunteer with KVD while I was in college. My junior year I was the lead summer intern, overseeing 5 other interns and developing local government-related curriculum for DPS educators. That summer I also became a member of the Advisory Board and have been an active member since. My long-standing relationship with KVD has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

I feel as though I have had the privilege of living out the mission of KVD and I look forward to becoming a leader at the organization and enfolding youth in Durham into the KVD story, just as I was.

Shirley graduated from High Point University in 2019 and then worked for the Democracy Fund in DC. She is currently a Fellow at the Durham Reality Ministries and will begin law school at Duke University in the Fall.

The KVD Board and staff and youth leadership interns and volunteers are excited to continue to work with Shirley in her new role.

Shirley Garrett