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AUBURN, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire schoolchildren have elected a new “Kid Governor” whose platform was inspired by depression he experienced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlie Olsen, who is a fifth grader at the Auburn Village School, was elected last week. It was the third year the state has participated in a national civics program aimed at encouraging civic engagement by teaching students about the history of voting rights, the qualities of good leaders and the mechanics of campaigns.

In a campaign video, Olsen said he wants to address the issue of children’s mental health by organizing fundraisers to pay for treatment, create a social network that promotes positivity and develop a mentoring system called C.A.S.T., which stands for Children’s Awareness Support Team.

“I became depressed during the COVID lockdowns, and so did a lot of my friends,” he said. “We all felt so alone, but you don’t have to do this alone.”

Kid Governor is a statewide civics program for fifth-graders. The nominees run on platforms addressing community issues and work with classmates to create campaign videos explaining how they would approach their issue.

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