We’re in the midst of a fundraising blitz right now, gathering as many new monthly donors as we can. All the cool kids are doing it, and we’re excited to have you join us by clicking here. But if that’s not enough to convince you, here’s our two newest staff members with more reasons for you to join our Friends With Benefits program today.
Alisha Agard, Campus Coordinator
I’m Alisha Agard and I first met the Bus (and Michael!) in 2013. Three years feels like a long time ago and like a very different me. By introducing me to new concepts via our classroom time and new tactics via our campaign field time, the Fellowship program not only helped me learn about political organizing, but about myself.
As a young woman of color born to two immigrant parents, I never saw myself in politics. I thought that I didn’t have a voice in the system because of this. The Fellowship helped me realize that it was because of these very identities that I needed to use my voice in politics, since so many people like me have been pushed out of the system.
After finishing my degree in 2015, I came back to the Bus as a staff member. As a 2015 Fellowship Coordinator, I was privileged with the opportunity to help other young people realize their power and their importance in the movement. It was incredibly powerful to be able to pay it forward, passing on my skills to young activists in the very program that made me the organizer I am today. Now, as the Campus Coordinator, I work with campus leaders across Washington to register thousands of students to vote every year.
I’m living proof that the Bus works. We’re not just training organizers and activists and sending them out into the world. We’re training organizers so good, everyone wants to hire them, including ourselves. We’re willing to put our money where our mouth is by hiring our own program participants to lead our life-changing work across the state. Now, we’re asking you to join us in investing in our young leaders by starting your monthly donation with the Washington Bus.
Help us empower our next class of young democracy heroes by becoming a Friend With Benefits.
Michael Padilla, Development Coordinator
My name is Michael Padilla and I am the Development Coordinator at the Bus, but before I jumped into running our Friends with Benefits membership program I became friends with the Bus (and Alisha!) as a 2013 Summer Fellow. That summer was one of the busiest, most educational, and most fun summers I have ever had! I was part of an amazing group of Fellows that taught me so much about the issues and struggles people go through everyday.
Without the Bus and the supportive Bus network I would never have been on the ground fighting and winning on tough, world-changing issues like leading the country in getting a Living Wage for Seatac workers or leading community members in Tacoma in a fight against unjust medical debt. Aside from the big issue wins, I was really excited about working with my community to get young people invested in the political process and engaging first time voters in the Latinx community.
The Bus gave me so many valuable experiences in talking to folks at the door and in the field, but it also helped me realize that when it comes to really changing how the world works, how to make sustainable impact, you need sustainable funding. I learned that one of the best ways I can continue helping the Bus engage people is to get the support and funding we need for all the great things we do. I felt and still feel that it’s extremely important that hundreds of other young people get to go through the amazing opportunities I did. Now, I’m the Development Coordinator of the Washington Bus, managing our Friends With Benefits program for monthly donors.
The Bus doesn’t just train field organizers, it trains leaders in every aspect of the movement. We’re not just cultivating field tactics, we’re cultivating leadership, community, and growth through a social justice lens. The Bus showed me that my voice matters, that I have something to contribute, and that my actions really can change the world.
When you sign up to make a monthly donation to the Bus through our Friends With Benefits program, you’re helping us continue to develop young leaders in every place of the movement – in the field, in the boardroom, on campuses, and in elected office.