Like a lot of college students, I often find myself short on funds and short on time. But I still want to get involved in the important causes that mean a lot to me, and I’m doing that. I just had to be a little creative.

I’m passionate about church-state separation and religious freedom. I find that the more I learn about this issue, the more determined I am to defend it. That’s why while interning for Americans United this semester, I want to share some ways that religious freedom advocates can be involved in the solution as well:

1. Share your stories: One of the best ways to get involved with church-state separation and religious freedom advocacy is to spread the word and communicate its importance to you to the people around you.

That’s one of the reasons why AU has a Youth Activist Award for young people fighting for church state separation. For high school juniors and seniors, we also have a Student Essay Contest where students can write about church-state separations and win money.

You can share your story to be considered for our Youth Activist Award here.

You can also learn more about or participate in our Student Essay Contest here.

2. Connect with people who share your passion: “Two heads are better than one” is very relevant to getting involved with activism. Groups of passionate people make change happen. AU has a Youth Advisory Council that meets to discuss various issues regarding church-state separation.

Apply to the Youth Advisory Council here.

Stay active in different ways.

3. Be a resource for positive change: Becoming the most informed that you can be will make you a great resource for other people who wish to get involved. 

4. Find an internship that you’re passionate about: As an intern for AU, I’m closely familiar to the rewarding feeling of working for an organization that supports the separation of church and state. I am developing my professional abilities while also learning a great deal about this important issue.

Additionally, by supporting a cause that matters to me, it makes the work that much more rewarding.

Interested in interning for AU? Get more information here.

5. Spread the word: A lot of activism is about outreach and so it’s beneficial if you can be a source of information for people who wish to get involved. Young people can request tabling supplies from AU to help spread our message at public events. Another important way to be a source of information is to go to protests and make your voice heard.

You can request tabling supplies from AU here, and find AU rally posters here.

There are many ways for young people to get involved in church-state separation without spending a single penny. Choosing to intern for AU, which fights for a cause that I believe in, is the best decision I could have made.

I will continue to stay involved with church-state separation and religious freedom throughout my life by being an active advocate and staying informed.

Youth activism requires dedication to a cause and having the drive to make change. Young people have a unique perspective and their involvement is invaluable to nonprofits such as AU. Our generation is the future of America, and we will make that future better by starting to get involved now.