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At Teen Action Fair, Young Leaders Take The Stage To Inspire Peers

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Bill and Melinda Gates Visitor Center
Teens work together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Visitor Center

Teenagers are always being told they aren’t old enough. But, at what age can someone become a leader? The Teen Action Fair at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center hopes to show teens they have what it takes to make a difference. 

16-year-old Isabella Forcino creates an image for a digital billboard that calls for access to clean water around the globe. It is a part of an interactive exhibit at the foundation’s visitor center.

"There are too many people in such an advanced world that don’t have access to such basic needs,” Forcino said.

She is a junior at Kirkland’s Juanita High. She said the action fair can get people her age excited about getting involved in social issues.

“No matter how many times they say that you aren’t old enough to volunteer at this place or “we are looking for more mature people,” you do have a voice and you can inspire change. And you can make change in your community and the world,” Forcino said.

Thirty-five groups, including Kids For Peace, Pacific Model United Nations, and Teen Feed, will be at the visitors' center with one thing in mind: getting young people involved in such things as refugee rights, global health, and women’s access to education.

And they expect a big turnout: over 1,000 young people. Organizer Deborah Sepulveda said in its third year, the fair has tripled in size.

“It’s amazing to me to see this event take off and youth leading it. I think it’s easier sometimes for youth to hear from each other versus adults," Sepulveda said.

She said there will also be opportunities for teens to sign up to volunteer locally and globally. The event is free and open to the public.

The Teen Action Fair is this Saturday at the Gates Foundation Visitor Center.