STAGE OF LIFE       Share Your Story       Coupons       Education Resources
Sign Up Now!

Be The Change: I Discovered the Power of My Voice

Joined: 12/29/2012
Posts: 5
A few weeks ago, I knocked on the door of Pittsburgh Congressman Mike Doyle. Even to me, it seemed crazy that four teenagers were about to try to persuade the government to take action against the LRA. Yet when I left the room that day, despite knowing I hadn’t changed American politics, something within me had.

My friends and I traveled to DC to work against the LRA. Made famous by the video KONY2012, the Lord’s Resistance Army has been fighting in Africa to overthrow the Ugandan government. Kony, the leader of the army, believes it is God’s mission, so he will do whatever it takes- including abducting children to brainwash into soldiers when they are as young as five years old. Some children are forced to murder their own families.

I was horrified upon hearing of these atrocities, but initially felt like a sixteen-year-old can’t save doomed foreigners. Then my friend decided to join the organization Invisible Children in an event in DC, where we would lobby and rally. I went along, but had doubts that a congressman would listen to us. I can’t even vote.

Unsurprisingly, the congressman was unavailable. Instead, we explained our objectives to his legislative director: to keep already-present American advisors in Africa, to increase the reward for information leading to Kony’s arrest, and to provide $60 million towards recovery and ending the conflict. The director was remarkably receptive.

Then she asked why we believe in the cause. I am typically quiet, but I pushed my voice out of reluctant lungs, and explained: it is hard to believe in change, when I am so young, tackling a problem so big. But everyone who changed something was “crazy.” Everyone was young— if not in age, in their idealism. We read about Martin Luther King and think he was unquestionably right. Ideas become black and white upon entering history textbooks, read by students who only think the way we do because someone once challenged the conventional thought. However, in their time, those same ideas were grey and complicated. Getting involved in another country’s conflict is complicated, but will it be grey when it’s all over? Suddenly, I felt sure of what I was asking for, despite most telling us it couldn’t happen. Elementary school posters said “Never Give Up” and “Anything is Possible,” but as I grow up, I am told those myths are as real as the tooth fairy. I am young enough to believe them anyway, and old enough to know our greatest leaders believed them too.

Everyone deserves human rights, but first we must demand them. I know one conversation did not transform foreign policy, but I believe that one voice among many can propel change. Anytime you set up a meeting with your representatives, you have a chance to make your issues heard. Perhaps the biggest change was one that occurred in me: I am just a quiet sixteen-year-old, but ever since that day, I have never felt so loud.
Rate this:
Comment by waterssar

Joined: 12/29/2012
Posts: 5
In case anyone's interested, I just found out that one of the acts that we lobbied for was passed! If enough people ask, our government will listen.
Posted: Friday, January 4, 2013 4:38:14 AM
Rate this:
Comment by Kwweesten

Joined: 2/9/2012
Posts: 51
This is a great way to make a change!
Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013 2:16:33 PM
Rate this:
Comment by Nate DeRose

Joined: 12/11/2012
Posts: 91
Congratulations! Your essay has been chosen as a Semi-Finalist for the "Be the Change" December writing contest.

Check out the full writing contest summary here:

We loved reading your essay and look forward to reading your future essays on Please continue to write for our contests!

-Nate DeRose
Writing Intern
Posted: Monday, January 28, 2013 6:50:34 PM
Rate this:

About StageofLife.comAbout Us: is a free blogging and writing community for high school students that allows teens the opportunity to share their personal stories and essays in an online life journal via their free Stage of Life account.  Check out our national Teen Trend Reports, and make sure to explore the writing contests for high school students, inspirational videos for teens, statistics about students, quotes about high school, and other resources about High School here on  Register to start your free writing profile, share an essay about your life, and help us change the world, one story at a time.  If you are a teacher - review our Language Arts Teaching Resources.

Writing Contest Archive - Students

Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports Student Writing Contests

Below you will find all of the monthly writing contests and teen trend reports from the last five years hosted by  Our dedication to digital literacy efforts have reached over 1,000,000 students and teachers in the last half decade, received mention on, and features in the news.  Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month. is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with you as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

2015 Writing Contests

2014 Writing Contests

 2013 Writing Contests

2012 Writing Contests

2011 Writing Contests

 2010 Writing Contests

Stage of Life Mission Statement

Find Us on Facebook      Follow Us on Twitter     Read our Founder's Blog is an education-based, grassroots, non-partisan, free blogging community with a mission support digital literacy by making the world a better place, one story, essay, and blog at a time.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes literacy resources, free lesson plans, writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students (and older generations), student blogging initiatives, blog directories, and financial literacy tools - including Life Rewards® - our free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

Terms of Service and Privacy