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The State of the Union and Why It Matters to Young People

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On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, President Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union address. This address is a chance for the American people to reflect on what the Obama Administration has accomplished thus far, as well as what they plan to accomplish in the future. The president will outline his agenda, as well as discuss a range of issues ranging from healthcare to education.

Although this is a way for the president to speak about his top priorities and how he plans to address them, it also gives viewers an opportunity to think about what issues matter to them and raise their concerns. In the days that follow the State of the Union, the American people will voice their opinions on different aspects of the SOTU and what the president plans to do with the issues that matter to them. It is extremely important that the young people of America make it a point to tune into the State of the Union address, educate themselves on the issues and speak up about what matters to them.

Generation Y gets a lot of criticism about being the "Me, Me, Me" generation and not caring about making a lasting impact on our society, but I don't believe that's true. There are numerous youth movements throughout the U.S. and the world where youth are actively striving to make a positive change in their communities. And that's something that government officials are recognizing more and more. This past December, the White House held a Youth Summit and invited young leaders from around the country to discuss the Affordable Care Act and other issues. Youth councils are all over the nation and help connect youth leaders with their local government. Government leaders are gradually looking towards young people for insight in developing solutions.

There's no question that youth offer unique perspectives to a variety of problems. It's important that we educate ourselves and other young people, as well as raise our voices about the issues that mean the most to us. Take this opportunity to reflect on what's important to you, what you would like see done about it and use your voice. There are more ways to get involved now than ever. You can tune in live on Facebook, YouTube and Google+. Tweet your thoughts. The #StuVoice chat with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is a great example of how social media can serve as a platform for young people to deliver feedback on issues, policies and topics. Young people are more than the leaders of tomorrow, we're the leaders of today. And being a leader involves staying informed and active in the world around you.