It’s 2017 and we are, more than ever, in the age of teen activism and advocacy. These days, it would be primitive to think that teens don’t care about the community and the world around them. Matt Post, a 17-year-old teen residing in Montgomery County, Maryland, has proved that over and over again. Post is an educational policy advocate and aid, confronting the diverse issues that all students face when attending public school. Post testified in front of the State Legislature and County Council advocating for funding towards the Operating Budget and Capital Improvements plan. He has made exceptional efforts to communicate with the student in his county to ensure an open forum for a diverse group of students. He has made efforts to close the achievement gap between minority and lower income students, destigmatize mental illness, and has promoted digital education for every student in the classroom. The list goes on and on. Currently, Post is running for Student Member of the Board of Montgomery County Public Schools. He hopes to put his experiences and knowledge into action to help the students of his community achieve a meaningful and fulfilling education.
But his work doesn’t just stop as an educational policy advocate. Post has made numerous short films and documentaries that provide fresh commentary on varying aspects of student life to the importance of butterflies. One of his most notable works, School Lunches: Healthier Hunger-Free Kids, investigates the stigma around student lunches and discusses student lunch reform. The documentary has won awards from both C-SPAN and StudentCam. Not to mention, Post also wrote and directed a PSA for Toyota and the Discovery Channel, For the Whales, that encourages teens to partake in safe driving habits and be aware of their responsibilities as teen drivers. This PSA has aired on the TLC, Discovery and Velocity channels.
In 2016, Post co-founded the Iono charity. Iono helps disadvantaged students have access to basic school necessities and supplies in Thailand. In just that one year, they raised $1000. The charity over time has become more accessible to others hoping to donate or support the cause. They currently have sale locations all across Maryland and have run social media channel to turn clicks into profits.
“In the 1950s, my grandma taught at a de-facto segregated elementary school in this really poor area of Brooklyn, New York. She didn’t teach because she had to; she came from a fairly well-off family and could have pursued higher paying work. My grandma decided to teach at low-income, segregated schools because she strongly believed that she had a role to play in using her privilege to lift up others. That philosophy has been passed down my family and really instilled in me from a young age. I’m really guided today by the ideal of education as a great equalizer in society, but our system isn’t fully there yet.” – Matt Post
At the end of the day, Matt’s just a normal kid. His work and advocacy demonstrate to all of us that we’re never too young to make a real difference in our community, in our society. His impact has reconstructed and revolutionized the education in his community and how the world views teen. This goes to show teens do care. Matt cares. There’s no reason the rest of us shouldn’t either.