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21st Century Community Learning Centers

Encouraging Active Participation

In the United States, young people are members of a democratic society and, as adults, will have the right to participate in governance at the local, state and federal level. Each individual has not only the right but also the responsibility to understand and be active in the democratic process.

When young people are involved in civic learning and engagement projects, you help them gain important knowledge and skills for the future. Civic learning and engagement projects can also help youth build a habit of participation in community and civic life, by providing this kind of learning:

  • Understanding of the democratic process and the many ways in which Americans can become informed, engaged, and responsible citizens
  • Stronger connection to the school community and its relationship to the community at large
  • Awareness of multiple viewpoints and diverse perspectives
  • Awareness of the influence of the individual and the power of collective problem solving
  • Personal understanding of the power that individuals and coalitions have to influence and change public policy, improve local communities, and address significant problems.

At times, youth may feel disconnected from civic life and may not understand their role in the democratic process. Click on the students below to see how civic learning and engagement can help.

The news these days is so complicated. How do I know what to believe?

Come join me at my afterschool program. We’re talking to a local television reporter and the mayor’s public affairs officer to learn how to interpret what we hear on the news.

John says... Elizabeth says...

Should my parents even vote in the local election? It’s hard to understand how it will affect my family and me.

Yes, they should. At my afterschool program we’ve been attending campaign events to investigate the differences between the candidates, and now we see that each candidate has plans that would really change some things in our county.

Brandon says... John says...

I’m starting to feel uncomfortable walking to school every morning because of the violence that’s been happening in this area. I wish someone would do something about it.

Well, we can do something about it! In my afterschool program, we’re preparing a presentation to the police department with our concerns and some suggestions for how to make the situation better. We studied what some other cities did and our teacher invited a former gang member to visit so we could hear his ideas for reducing violence.

Elizabeth says... Brandon says...

My Notebook

Project-Based Learning

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Glossary

Project-Based Learning