01/11/2013 05:53 pm ET Updated Mar 13, 2013

Young Americans Have the Power to Change Washington

As a 24-year-old Latino-American, I came to Washington, like many, with the hope of being able to change things for the better.

As an immigrant to the U.S., I champion the need for immigration reform. I champion it, because I've lived it. I've been through the system, and have seen first-hand some of its flaws and faults.

Our country is in need of champions who are willing to take up causes that they feel passionate about. As Americans, we hold a responsibility to make our government accountable, because at the end of the day, we are the ones that will bear the consequences.

One thing that becomes evident very quickly in the real world, something that is not taught in any classroom, is the fact that change takes time. In order to truly implement change, especially in terms of politics and policy, one must be persistent and patient.

As young individuals, we have the energy and drive to be persistent in order to see the results that we seek to achieve. Being young provides us with an incredible advantage to make mistakes and learn from them, reassess our positions and keep working toward our goals.

As the gridlock in Washington shows us what not to do and how not to act, we need to take charge and take action where we are able to do so. Let's take advantage of our proficiency and skillfulness in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and use them to organize, engage, and implement positive and lasting change.

A great example of this was seen in the summer of 2012, when thousands of students across the country used the power of social media to put pressure on Congress to pass legislation that prevented college interest rates from going up on the average student loan. Thousands of Twitter users across the country used the Twitter hashtag #dontdoublemyrate and made their voices heard, preventing the average college student-loan from increasing by up to $1,000.

The truth is that there is simply too much at stake to remain idle. What politicians in Washington do today will affect all of us and future generations in the years to come.

So let's take advantage of our energy and imagination to look for ways to make positive and lasting changes in our society, not only in our political system, but positive changes in our communities as well. There are countless issues that need improvement, so stop waiting for someone to ask you to step up: don’t be afraid to take up a cause that you're passionate about, invite your friends and neighbors to join you in your efforts or take up their own causes, and you'll be surprised at how much good you can do.