Recently, we gathered at Reid Ross Classical High School in Fayetteville, a First Vote NC school, where State Employees Credit Union Foundation Executive Director Jama Campbell announced the Foundation’s $150,000 investment in EducationNC’s First Vote NC program.
Representatives of the SECU Foundation, members of EducationNC’s leadership and First Vote team, and First Vote teacher Tatum Weaver and students were on hand as Campbell presented the ceremonial check to Hunter Buxton, the founder of First Vote NC.
“First Vote NC has been well-received by high school teachers who have incorporated the civics curriculum in their classrooms over the past two years. As long-time advocates of education, SECU members recognize the significance and impact of helping students become more informed about the democratic process before legally exercising their right to vote at age 18. SECU Foundation is happy to support EdNC’s efforts to bring this election simulation program to students statewide.” – Jama Campbell, Executive Director, SECU Foundation
First Vote teaches high school students across North Carolina the mechanics of voting by giving them the opportunity to participate in an online, simulated election, authentic down to the customized ballot based on the address of the student’s school and the “I VOTED” sticker. First Vote’s simulations of local, state, and national elections enable students to learn about the mechanics of how, when, and where to vote; to discuss the election; and to actually simulate the act of voting. More than 39,000 students statewide voted in the 2016 general and 2017 local election simulations.
“The SECU Foundation has a long history of contributing to outstanding projects and organizations in North Carolina, which is why their support of First Vote NC is an especially proud moment for our effort. Everyone on the First Vote team looks forward to this partnership and ensuring teachers have what they need to prepare the next generation of North Carolinians to be civic ready and engaged.” – Hunter Buxton, Founder, First Vote NC
After the check presentation, SECU Foundation representatives sat down with First Vote teacher Tatum Weaver and seniors Jada Haire and Nashayla Malloy to talk about the program and the importance of civics education.
Teacher Tatum Weaver has particpated in First Vote NC since the program launched in 2016. She said, “I think and I hope voting will become a habit for my students.”
Helen Farrior, a teacher for 32 years, added that she hopes students will understand the importance of their vote: “And understand that my one vote does count!”
Senior Jada Haire said, “Learning about civics and the government is very important so you’ll know your role in the government and your communities. When you do graduate and get into the real world, it is important to know everything about your government and your rights as citizens in this state and in the country itself.”
First Vote NC provides high school teachers with a free, authentic election simulation experience for their students so they graduate civic ready.
A North Carolina specific curriculum that aligns with NC standards compliments the online voter platform. The lesson plans address issues such as the role of media in elections, the role of money in elections, how to utilize the results, and why every vote counts.
This year, First Vote will offer participating teachers an opportunity to be part of a First Vote teacher online community. The platform, housed at Participate, will allow teachers to communicate ideas, share best practices, and ask questions of their peers across the state.
If students have an opportunity to practice voting every year, voting becomes a habit.
First Vote NC is civics for the next generation. Your voice, your first vote.
About SECU and the SECU Foundation
A not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, SECU has been providing employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for 81 years. The Credit Union also offers a diversified line of financial advisory services including retirement and education planning, tax preparation, insurance, trust and estate planning services, and investments through its partners and affiliated entities. SECU serves over 2.3 million members through 264 branch offices, nearly 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Member Services via phone and a website, www.ncsecu.org.
The SECU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization funded by the contributions of SECU members, promotes local community development in North Carolina primarily through high impact projects in the areas of housing, education, healthcare and human services. Since 2004, SECU Foundation has made a collective financial commitment of more than $154 million for initiatives to benefit North Carolinians statewide.