Among the thousands of members at Helio, there are some who we think are doing something particularly great or interesting, and Run For Office is one of them! They moved in 2021, and we thought it was time to put them on the spot with some questions:
Hi Sarah and Tamar, tell us what Run For Office is?
Run For Office is a collaborative project between the Runner’s Academy (Löparakademin) and Raise Your Voice/Vote (Höj Rösten). The essence of Run for Office is taking the public interest among young ones who live in socio-economically challenged areas, and transforming into action, for a stronger democracy and a sustainable societal development. We are active in all of Greater Stockholm and our main target group is youths of the age of 15-20 years.
Why do we need Run For Office?
We need Run For Office to give youths the opportunity to get engaged in enabling change. We assist by providing basic knowledge on what societal changes can look like and offer young people a platform for development. We act on their premises in their areas, to actually engage youths in all parts of our society. Run For Office empowers youths as actors of change, and works to include the perspective of young people where decisions are made, to create a representative democracy.
Your first group has just graduated, tell us what’s happened?
One of the initiatives within the frame of the project is an educational program. Run For Office Academy helps youths from these areas to explore and identify societal issues which they want to get engaged in. Through the program, participants don’t just get tools to change society – their societal acts begin within the educational program, by taking active steps toward increased involvement.
We accept around 20-25 youths each semester and give them this special education on societal change and leadership during 5 full days. The education includes lectures from various invited guests who specialize in different aspects of society. The youths are from all corners of Stockholm, from Södertälje to Bro. After the education program is over, the youths are one step closer to being actors of change in their municipality, in Sweden, and in the world.
Our first group has just started another of our initiatives, a mentorship program which they are offered after completing the education. The mentorship program helps to continue the youths’ involvement and anchor their interests in society with an adult role model as a mentor.
Who is behind Run For Office, who are you?
Us who are working with Run For Office daily are project leader Tamar Khatchadourian and event coordinator Sarah Sallami. We are two women who are involved in our society and we’re passionate about a stronger democracy. With us, we have a management team from the Runner’s Academy and Raise Your Voice/Vote, consisting of Vandad Assadi, John Laselle, Paul Alacron, and Najma Mohamed.
You can usually find Sarah and Tamar on site in Sundbyberg or Hornstull, so say hello if you see them. If you want to read more about Run For Office, you’ll find their website at runforoffice.se.