David Ledbetter is only 17 years old, but after spending his Saturday tracking down other teens who are old enough to vote, it’s evident that the Charlotte teenager already has a passion for politics. He tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he and a local attorney, Stephanie Sneed, noticed a long line at the local fast-food restaurant for the chain’s latest chicken sandwich launch, and saw an opportunity.
“[We] came up with the idea of trying to engage young voters since we seen the amount of individuals waiting in line,” Ledbetter explains via messenger. “My inspiration came from getting more young people involved in political conversations in order to aid the community to establish prosperity.”
The effort was done in collaboration with Sneed, who is currently running for the local school board. The two even promoted her platform by wearing her campaign t-shirts while on the job. But getting other locals to register was the main focus of the day.
“It felt good knowing that I made that many impressions on so many individuals,” he says. “What I hope is that people learn the importance of being involved in national and local politics in order to make the proper change in their communities.”
Ledbetter took to Instagram that day to share photos from their day and to encourage others to make sure they are registered to vote.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the photo aggregated nearly 5,000 likes, including one from Rihanna.
“I was definitely caught off guard,” Ledbetter says of the viral attention. “I didn’t intend on this happening.” Ledbetter boasts that he and Sneed were able to get a lot of the people in line registered, although they weren’t able to tally specific numbers.
“I had a very good turnout,” he wrote. “It’s very nice to know that the majority of people there were registered to vote.”
The standout deed isn’t the only act of public service that Ledbetter has been involved in. In fact, he co-founded an organization called Imagine This to promote “college and career readiness by serving high school students throughout the community.” He’s even promoted some of that work on his personal Instagram account as well.
But it’s his determination to register voters that has taken the internet by storm and proven, according to Sneed, that young people are the key to change. “I’m so thankful that David is getting the attention that he is,” Sneed tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It definitely shows people what happens when you engage young people and inspire them, and to put the tools in place for them to be successful.”
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