I could really use help.
I'm on a Feb. 1 deadline to send the Knight Foundation a follow-up proposal for my Fancy Lex idea to make Lexington a better place.
Fancy Lex was selected as one of 126 finalists out of 7,000 ideas submitted to the Knight Cities Challenge from all over the country. Now we are competing for grants from a $5 million pool to improve our city.
Two other ideas, submitted by good citizens from Lexington, were also selected, and I wish them luck.
Fancy Lex is a call to my fellow members of the millennial generation, ages 18 to 29, to wake up to our political power.
Do you know Fancy Farm, the summer picnic in Western Kentucky that's considered the official start of the political season in Kentucky? Well, we hope Fancy Lex will be a cool fall follow-up for the people of Lexington, particularly young voters.
In addition to meeting local elected officials, the event would focus on bluegrass and folk music, Kentucky Proud products, and local businesses. City council members would share their role in the government with citizens, what projects they are working on, and highlight their district's successes.
It would give every citizen a reason to venture out of his or her district and see all of Lexington.
Many of my friends are turned off by politics or don't know or care who's running for office. The good news is that they are still eager to reduce poverty or help the homeless or create jobs as entrepreneurs.
For those turned on by politics, Fancy Lex would offer a chance for young voters to come to a big city celebration and get to know their mayor, council members and other public officials.
For those turned off by politics, it offers an alternative: a chance to come to the same party and build new constructive relationships with government officials to solve the city's problems.
I am working with a team of three other University of Kentucky honors students — Clay Thornton, Scotty Reams and Courtney Eaton — and our professor, Buck Ryan, director of the Citizen Kentucky Project of UK's Scripps Howard First Amendment Center.
We thought up the idea in our Citizen Kentucky Honors class after conducting research on the lack of civic engagement, especially by young voters, and after watching a documentary, Ballot Bomb: Exploring the Young Voter Explosion on KET.
As part of that class, Thornton's abstract, "On Jobs, Values, and Misguided Polls: An Analysis of Young Voters 'Bowling Alone' in Kentucky's 2014 Midterm Elections," was selected for the 2015 National Conference on Undergraduate Research in April in Spokane, Wash.
Our proposal to the Knight Foundation noted that many citizens cannot name the mayor, do not know the role of local government, and have never met their city council representative.
We would love to hear your ideas about how we can make my follow-up proposal a winner for all of us. Thanks a million.