For a while now, people all around have felt unrepresented and neglected in things they feel are important, or that issues were being ignored. Because of that, we have had young people coming out to speak out. Sadly, some adults today do not support these young voices. However, Susan Skog, the author of “Your Voice Matters: Stand Up, Speak Out”, thinks otherwise. She believes that kids and young adults need to be supported, and that people should listen and learn from young voices.
I got to sit down with her a little bit before the event started. Her book signing was taking place at a Tattered Cover in Aspen Grove, Littleton. (Fun Fact: Susan Skog is actually from Colorado!) When she was asked about interviewing and the stories in her book, she had an interesting answer. “I did not interview everyone. I tried and tried and tried but I couldn’t snag an interview with them. So, I gathered stories from the media accounts and press sources for about a good two-thirds of my book. The others were one-on-one interviews.” Aside from the interviews and getting to talk to inspiring kids, she also wrote the book because she felt that having the adults standing by to help guide the young voices of the future sets up a path to success. Skog also says that she wanted this book to actually be used and needed. To see if that was true, she would go into the classrooms and learn from the kids. She would ask them this question: “If you had a microphone under your chin, what would you say?” She also would ask them if they wanted or needed the book. Skog told me that there was a teen in a high school she visited who said something she would never forget. As she was talking to the class he stood up. He then told her this; “Our generation knows more than you might assume. Our generation has seen more than you might imagine. Our generation will do more than many will expect. However, we will need help for your generation to find the right path and guide us to our success.” That statement was the push she needed to get writing that book.
She told me that she was drawn to being a student leader as a kid. She never liked the idea of there being one person to lead everyone else. She does say, “In high school, I decided to major in journalism. And I was very grateful for the women before me because they opened doors that were shut.” Skog also told me about her fear of speaking in front of people. “But,” she said, “After I did it the first time, I realized how much I was needed in speaking. I haven’t stopped since.” Aside from being a great public speaker, she is a great interviewer and courageous writer who has collected stories from Asia to Africa. Her work has also been published in some of the best presses in America, such as The New York Times, Huffington Post and NBC Nightly News. Now, she has spoken to almost 2,000 kids and continues to do so, letting kids know just how much their voices can impact and change the world for the better.
At the speech during book signing, she added in a discussion with the crowd which made up of young adults (but mostly high schoolers) so that they could talk about advocacy and what they want to change in the world with fellow audience members. Everyone felt made this a unique way to honor one another. She also talked about some of the inspiring voices of the book, from Mari Copeny to Greta Thunberg. Skog talked about being the change agents for the future. “If we never did anything, how much would we regret if we submitted to fear?” Susan Skog is a great author worth listening to, who inspires young adults to do good in the world and harness our power and knowledge of the change that needs to happen.