Ballard hoping young people can help drive change

North Alum Maggie Ballard is running for the City Council District 6 seat


Isabel Paez and Katie Blessman

Since the summer of 2020 social change and justice has been at the forefront of many people’s minds. With the Black Lives Matter movement and Stop Asian Hate, the determination to right systematic wrongs has been awoken. Especially in young people, who are taking up roles as leaders in their communities.

Whilst school is about getting students ready for life in the real world by teaching lessons they need to learn, they’re also there to encourage kids to do what they can to make a difference.

Students have spent years making an impact on the community in Wichita. One of those students is former North High Student Maggie Ballard, Class of 2001, who is now running for city council.

As a high school student, Ballard was active in her environment. She was involved swimming, tennis, and yearbook. When she was even younger, Maggie and her family would help out the homeless near her family’s business and from then on, she knew that everyone had a story to tell. Many of the homeless that they helped had a mental illness and were veterans.

This sparked her belief in the importance of mental health which is one of the main focuses in her campaign along with domestic violence. Mental health has become more prominent in day to day lives due to the pandemic and Wichita has the highest number in the state in terms of domestic violence.

Ballard emphasizes the importance of younger people getting involved in issues in the community to help solve these and other issues.

“It’s important to have a new generation of young leaders that are willing to step up and speak on behalf of the kids who are being raised right now to have good opportunities here for them,” Ballard said.

Voting is something vital that can lead to great change. Getting people in charge who have the best interest of the people is necessary to improving the lives of those people. Students who are old enough to vote, get registered, and make their voice heard.

Even if students can’t vote, there are ways they can still be involved. Volunteering at shelters and organizations can improve the community. Students can also help campaigns that they support to help spread the word.

“I think just being really aware of what’s going on in our local community, of course the presidential election and some things like that are really important, but I encourage people to get registered as soon as they turn 18 and vote in everything they can…We definitely need our younger generation to start paying attention…” Maggie said.

For the city council candidates early voting starts in a few weeks. November 2nd is Election Day for Wichita’s city council.