Alaysha Claiborne does not come from a political family.
Her parents are a little on the liberal side, Claiborne said, but no one ever told her to support gay rights or access to birth control. She figured that out on her own.
It started on an otherwise unremarkable day four years ago, when Claiborne walked into the Democratic headquarters in York City and asked the volunteers a question.
"I was like, 'Do you guys need help?'" she said.
Claiborne was just 14 years old when she began making phone calls and creating posters on behalf of the Barack Obama campaign. She can't quite remember why she felt so compelled to volunteer.
But politics certainly took hold of Alaysha Claiborne, now 18, and hasn't let go.
In a few weeks, the Dallastown High School graduate will be among the youngest delegates to cast a nominating vote for the incumbent president at the Democratic National Convention.
"I just feel like I'm on the right side of history," she said.
Passions: Claiborne said she is especially passionate about gay rights and women's rights, viewpoints she's gained through her volunteer work with Planned Parenthood. She said she was moved several months ago by Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage rights.
"Being a minority in Dallastown, I can connect to the LGBT struggle," Claiborne said. "I know what it's like to be different."
She will represent Democrats of the 4th Congressional District, an honor she shares with Frank Snyder of Carroll Township and Salome Johnson of Hallam. George Sanders of Red Lion is an alternate.
The convention's nominating process is largely ceremonial, especially for an incumbent president seeking re-election. But to be a delegate, supporters still must collect signatures and be elected to represent an area.
For Claiborne, that process was complicated by the fact that her 18th birthday fell after the deadline for collecting signatures. Not yet old enough to vote, Claiborne stood by while other volunteers worked to get her name on the primary ballot.
Fundraiser: This weekend, she's asking the community for some more help.
Claiborne's enrolled some local celebrities -- York City Mayor Kim Bracey and Loretta Claiborne -- to serve frozen treats as a fundraiser to offset travel expenses.
Loretta Claiborne, a well-known Special Olympics athlete who had a local building named for her and a television movie made about her life, is Alaysha Claiborne's great aunt.
The fundraiser is being held from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Rita's, 3000 E. Market St. There will also be music and face-painting.
Alaysha Claiborne, who will leave to study at Temple University in a few weeks, said she's not sure what to expect from the three-day convention, which begins Sept. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.
"It's going to be fun though," she said.
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A fundraiser to help Alaysha Claiborne, an 18-year-old delegate, pay for her trip to the Democratic National Convention, will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Rita's, 3000 E. Market St.
York City Mayor Kim Bracey and Special Olympics athlete Loretta Claiborne will serve frozen treats.