LI Graduate of the Week Katie Collins, 14: “LI training has influenced the way I think, work, and relate in politics”

October 17, 2011 | By Lauren Hart

Fourteen-year-old Florida native Katie Collins, the Leadership Institute’s Graduate of the Week, took LI’s October 2008 Youth Leadership School in Sarasota, Florida. “I was only 11 at the time, but I remember learning so much about politics and campaigning from you.”

“The Leadership Institute inspired me more than anything,” Katie recalls.  “They gave me the tools I needed to believe I could successfully launch a political campaign. They continued to add fire to my dream of being a political activist.  I learned how to make a difference around me and I have used these skills in many ways.”

Katie has been active in public policy the past three years since she attended LI’s YLS.  

“I left LI with an armful of books, inspired by what you said, and have since worked on several campaigns.  However, with age, my projects have gotten increasingly bigger, leading up to my current project, overturning Roe vs. Wade.”

Katie helped organize the September 20th rally in partnership with Faith2Action to “influence those who remain ‘undecided’ in the Senate” over the Heartbeat Bill (H.B. 125) in Ohio. 



Katie has assisted several pro-family conferences, including: the 2007 Values Voter Presidential Debate in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida as a student assistant; the 2009 How to Take Back America Conference in St. Louis, Missouri as a personal assistant to Faith2Action’s Director Janet Porter; and most recently, the 2011 Heartbeat Bill Rally in Columbus, Ohio as the homeschool/youth coordinator.

“My job was to contact as many young people in Ohio as possible and get them excited about the bill and involved in the process. I plan to continue to make myself available to help Faith2Action pass the Heartbeat Bill, the most protective piece of pro-life legislation in America through the Ohio Senate,” Katie said.  

Katie, her brother Sam, and their parents frequently travel, as homeschooling allows a more flexible schedule. The picture right shows Katie in front of the Piazza del Duomo in Milano, Italy.

“I was pretty excited about the LI class, but nervous because I didn't know too much about it.   In the evening I stayed up well past midnight with the other kids working very hard on all of our assigned homework. The LI teachers taught us to have fun while we worked hard,” Katie remembers.

“I worked with other kids during class competitions and even won a contest!  I learned specifically how to write press releases, draw bubble pictures for 'campaigns', etc.  I go back to my class composition book time and time again,” Katie says, “as I consider how to reach people effectively.  I suppose that was the lecture that meant the most to me in how to reach people effectively with a list of a dozen or so ways.  And of course, each way had a fun name to remember it by!”

What does 14-year-old Katie have her eye on next?

“God has given me a gift of communication.  Many people have told me that.  He has also given me a love of the political arena, in the sense that I feel a calling to be involved in pro-life and pro-family/marriage movements,” Katie said.  “I don't want to be a politician!  I just want to fight for the issues dear to me, more like a political lobbyist.”  

Katie says that she has “recommended the Leadership Institute to many of my friends.   LI was extremely beneficial to me as a young woman with political interests.  LI training has influenced the way I think about politics, the ways I go about working in politics, and the way I relate to others about politics.  I hope many others will continue to learn from the teachers at LI,” Katie said.  “Maybe someday I'll even be able to go back and take some other classes myself!”

Want to be trained as an effective conservative activist like Katie?  Check out the full schedule of LI’s upcoming trainings.  For more information on LI’s Youth Leadership Schools, please go here.

To nominate a Leadership Institute graduate you know to be featured as LI's graduate of the week, please contact LI's External Affairs Officer Lauren Hart at LaurenHart@LeadershipInstitute.org.