Change Makers

Heart of an advocate: A Missouri teen invests her time in standing up for children

Lucy advocates with her state representative to end violence against children.

It all started with one Christmas gift — a gift that changed how 16-year-old Lucy sees the world and spends her time.

Last Christmas, Lucy Besch of Chesterfield, Missouri, received money from her parents to sponsor a child through World Vision. Her sponsored child, 8-year-old David from Kenya, shares her birthday.

Lucy now uses her babysitting money to pay for the monthly child sponsorship and is committed to keeping it going.

“If David’s in need, I want to do all I can to help him,” Lucy says. “I have a lot of blessings and opportunities just because of where I was born, and other people don’t have opportunities just because of where they were born. So, I feel like, as a Christian, God wants me to do what I can to help others.”

From writing letters to house resolutions

Lucy writes letters to David, and she gets letters in return. In some of their letter writing, Lucy learned that David’s community was improving a lot through World Vision’s work. She wanted to learn more, so she began searching on World Vision’s website for ways she could get more involved.

World Vision’s advocacy work intrigued her, so despite her doubts, Lucy sent an email asking if she could help. “I didn’t think I would be able to do it because I’m not even old enough to vote,” says Lucy. “At the time I started, I wasn’t even able to drive!”

Lucy received resources and confidence from World Vision’s advocacy team. She called her state representative and soon was at the office of Representative Ann Wagner of Missouri, speaking with a staff member about issues that affect children like David in Kenya. They discussed House Resolution 910 to end violence against children.

“I was worried because I’d never done anything like that before,” Lucy says. “But I was glad to find out that I didn’t have to be too knowledgeable — I just had to be passionate about what I was saying and do my best!”

Following God’s call

Soon after that first meeting, Lucy was invited back to meet with her state representative in person. Rep. Wagner found Lucy’s words and actions so inspiring that she agreed to cosponsor House Resolution 910 to end violence against children.

“I was so happy that she’d done it and grateful that she’d listened,” Lucy says. “I was amazed that just by meeting with somebody, I’d set the ball rolling and made it happen!”

God has helped me so much in my life and I want to do what I can, and do what he calls me to do.—Lucy Besch, 16

Lucy’s faith is what motivates her to keep sponsoring David and advocating for children. “God has helped me so much in my life and I want to do what I can and do what he calls me to do.”

As Lucy follows God’s call, God is already using Lucy. In May, the Ending Violence Against Children resolution was introduced in the House and currently has 34 cosponsors, including Rep. Wagner who was one of the initial cosponsors, thanks to Lucy. Lucy plans on staying in touch with Rep. Wagner and continue advocating for the well-being of children.

Impacting lives and laws

Lucy also wants other young people to use their voices for positive change. She wants youth to know that even though they can’t vote yet, their opinions matter to elected officials.

“For a while, I saw the government as pretty distant and as something that a lot of people argue over,” she says. “But it was amazing to see that these leaders are so accessible and they’re there to help me and others.”

Lucy has her driver’s license now and continues to babysit to earn money each month to sponsor David. She also is hooked on advocacy, and she is considering a path of public service.

“I want to impact people, so seeing their work inspired me to consider going into that in the future,” says Lucy.

For now, she’ll keep up her sponsorship, advocacy work, and inspiring others to make a difference. “Through advocacy, we enable laws to be passed and things to happen to make World Vision’s work more effective and more possible,” she says. “It doesn’t cost any money to be an advocate and by doing it you’re able to help even more kids in addition to the ones you’re sponsoring!”

How can I help?

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