Rizwan Khan, a Plano West Senior High School student, started Politics For Teens as a simple club at school, but the idea has grown into much more since launching in 2022.

Politics For Teens officially became a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization in April this year, and the organization now has more than 70 chapters worldwide, including several across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Austin and Houston.

More information on Politics with Teens can be found on its website.

Community Impact spoke with Khan about what the organization does, how it’s grown so quickly and what it may look like in the future.

What was your motivation for starting Politics For Teens?

It really was founded based on the tension that I saw when talking about politics with the midterms coming up in 2022. There was this preconceived notion that politics was toxic and shouldn't be talked about. The advent of Politics For Teens was to be able to combat this and to try to set into stone that we can talk about politics in a cordial and civil manner because, at the end of the day, politics is a way to unify. It's a way to go beyond our barriers and to talk about issues that define who we are as Americans.

How did the club expand so quickly?

We believed the club was great, and we believed that if this could happen at Plano, then we could do things like this all across the world. That is what we started to do. We had the mindset of having the greatest impact, the greatest meaning and the greatest outreach possible, and that is what led us to reach our current statute.

What sort of things does the organization do?

We started hosting political forums back in July with some state representatives. That was just about bringing our elected officials to us as students. We have a moderated discussion and a Q&A where individuals can ask questions about different political topics and viewpoints.

We help start discussions in our Democracy is Discourse high school chapters. We also have leadership panels, where we bring in elected officials to talk about how they got into politics and what made them want to serve their community.

Beyond that, we also have our competitions. We hosted a National Civic competition this summer, and we had $100 cash prize, and essentially what we tasked our participants to do is pick any topic and analyze it from the perspective of both sides, and then figure out how those both sides can come together to find a solution.

What are some long-term plans and goals for Politics For Teens?

We have a women's initiative that we are planning on hosting in [2024]. We also want to continue to expand—our goal is to reach 100-plus chapters, either by the end of 2023 or the beginning of next year.

Our main initiative is to bridge the partisan divide, to establish a bridge between both sides of the political aisle that has been fragmenting over the years. It’s also about youth empowerment as well. Generation Z is the least politically active voter age group, so it’s about empowering the youth to get involved to make a difference.