At the end of 2018, I highlighted some of the amazing ways God is using Forge in young people’s lives and futures. This series of testimonials – “My Forge Story” – was so popular that I’m now going to feature one each month. You will now be able to read or watch Forge graduates or current students’ personal stories in their own words on a monthly basis.
This month, I’m honored to feature Lukas Schroeder, Forge Mentorship Academy Class of 2017. Luke, a native of Troy, Ohio, is finishing up his junior year at Miami of Ohio where he is completing a business degree. He has interned for Congressmen Jim Jordan and Warren Davidson and is now in a prestigious internship in the executive branch of our federal government. Luke has returned to the Forge Summit as a student mentor, and has really taken ownership over our ministry, paying it forward to future and current students following in his footsteps in the Forge Summit and subsequent Mentorship Academy program.
Luke’s reflections on Forge’s personal impact on his life and his thoughts on why it will impact our nation for decades to come:
“I’ve long held a passion for public service, history, and politics. Even at a young age, I loved learning about American history, particularly our founders and founding documents, and how those few brave patriots risked their fortunes and lives to forge the great country that we now call home.
As I watched our government stray further from the founders’ conservative vision, my motivation to get involved in the public square only grew. Following my graduation from high school, I felt both excitement and uncertainty towards my future. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in public service, but I lacked the network that could help make that happen. I’m so thankful that Forge became a part of my life at just the right moment.
My journey with Forge started almost three years ago when I was introduced to Forge’s co-founder, Justin Powell. At the time I had never heard of Forge, but Justin shared the organization’s story and vision with me and talked me through that summer’s upcoming Forge Leadership Summit. I was convinced – Forge was for me.
Just a few months later, I found myself in Columbus, Ohio at Forge’s Leadership Summit. Everything about the Summit – the speakers, media and campaign training, and legislative simulation on the Ohio House floor – was incredible. Better yet, I gained dozens of new friends, people who share my convictions and love for politics and policy. I would recommend the Summit to anyone, and I am so thankful that I made the decision to attend.
After attending the Leadership Summit, I was honored to be chosen for Forge’s Mentorship Academy. While the Academy provides further opportunities for networking and building friendships, its highlights for me were trips to Washington, D.C. and Israel. While in Washington, we heard from leading activists, think tanks, congressional staffers, and four members of Congress. Safe to say, we gained many valuable insights on the inner workings of the federal government. We were even given a private, after-hours tour of the Capitol by Congressman Warren Davidson.
Forge’s Mentorship Academy also gave me the amazing opportunity to travel to Israel through the Passages program. My time in Israel was truthfully life-changing, and better equipped me to grasp the complex geopolitical issues facing the Middle East. Without Forge, I would have never had this incredible experience.
Finally, my involvement in the Academy meant that I was matched with an amazing mentor, who has driven me to grow my faith and further develop my political convictions. I have no doubt that my mentor will be a lifelong friend – someone I can truly depend on for advice, support, and friendship.
Forge also has an uncanny ability to recruit amazing people – some of the best people I have the honor of knowing. I will forever value the connections I have formed through Forge and am very thankful for the lifelong friendships I have made.
As President Reagan once said, “The struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.”
That’s where Forge steps in to play such an important role. This organization imparts its graduates with the tools they need to fight the good fight in preserving liberty, freedom, and moral values in this, the greatest country on earth.
Forge stands apart from other nonprofits in the policy world, because Forge isn’t just about today, tomorrow, or next year. The true impact of Forge will be seen years and decades into the future, when the thousands of bright young people impacted by this organization will become the leaders of their fields in government, law, business, and more. Forge is so meaningful because it is a direct investment in the good and faithful people who aspire to guide the future course of our world.
To every person who has made Forge possible, thank you. Your support of Forge means so much to so many, including me. I am tremendously thankful for your generosity. Because I have seen first-hand the amazing impact that Forge has, I wholeheartedly believe in this great organization and its mission. I hope you do as well, and I hope you will join me in supporting Forge. Together, we can ensure that this great organization continues to grow and succeed for many years to come!”
Thank you for reading, and thank you for the life-changing impact you are having on young servant-leaders like Luke. I hope these stories encourage and inspire you.
P.S. Know an 18-25 year old who should follow in the footsteps of Luke by attending Forge? Perfect Timing >>> Application is open right now for the 2019 Forge Leadership Summit, held July 23-27, 2019 in Columbus, OH. A student can easily request an application on our website at forgeleadership.org/apply