Post your questions or leave your comments here regarding engagement/keeping interest for high school programs.
Sheena Strickler asks: What are some civic based projects you have found successful with high schoolers?
In Austin, one of our state reps created a club that focused on involvement as a concerned citizen in government. At first, we were hesitant because of potential political party influence but the rep was very professional and presented two sides to every argument. He also demonstrated the various approaches different political groups may take to hot issues. What could have been a challenging club, turned in to an amazing draw for high school students. Like Eric was saying in the webinar, students want to be treated in an age appropriate manner and they want respect just like anyone else. This Policy Club did just that.
We incorporated civic engagement directly and indirectly into our programming using the model I showed.
At the service level, we made sure that young people that helped out and volunteered with the programs, from tutoring afterschool to working backstage security during events knew that they were providing a community service.
At the consultation level, when approached by other organizations that needed volunteers for events or community celebrations, young people would discuss if it fit their values, goals, mission, etc… If it did, they would commit to helping and then it would move to a service project.
At the representative level, young people could discuss community issues and then have the opportunity to create a project based learning opportunity. If they wanted to take it on, we would move that to the leadership and service category. They would research the topic and it may lead them to school board meetings, city council meetings, or the state capitol to share their research and advocate for solutions.
Every program idea needed to tie students’ interests, talents, and skills into the “greater good”. For example, monthly meetings with high school musicians (generally about 100 would show up each month to plan concerts) would start with introductions and stating what their music stands for. I’d remind them that they have a stage and a microphone, so how are they using that power to make their community better. As they spent two months learning music business and planning their events, they created budgets and marketing plans to raise enough money to cover the costs of the event, plus to contribute to afterschool programs for younger students.
Actually, if showing respect is something that is age appropriate when addressing adults, young people DON’T want to be treated in an age appropriate way.
Sheena. Civic Engagement is actually one of the modules on the Y4Y site. Here is the link. https://www.y4y.ed.gov/tools/#civic.