As Nation Turns its Eyes to Youth, Chicago Students Show They’re Ready to Lead

350 teen problem-solvers from 60 schools will gather to present solutions to Chicago’s toughest issues at Mikva’s Action Civics Showcase

 

CHICAGO, IL – Following a school year of action, Chicago youth will gather to showcase their year-long activism effort to better their schools and neighborhoods at Chicago’s 16th Annual Action Civics Showcase on May 22, 2018 at The Bridgeport Art Center. Mikva Challenge will host the showcase in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools’ Department of Social Science and Civic Engagement. The morning will begin with a competition, inspired by the Aspen Challenge, for select projects with participants competing for a trip for their team to the nation’s capital.

 

To better understand and support refugee families in their community, youth leaders at Dever Elementary created an awareness campaign, organizing efforts with CPS, and raising funds for local organizations. To increase STEM education opportunities in their community, youth from Camelot Excel Academy of Southwest created prototype chargers to also power local businesses and community members. To address water access from school facilities, youth from Morgan Park High School secured grant funding to fix a water fountain in their building. Interested in immigration advocacy and civic action, students at Juarez hosted a voter education and registration events; lobbied in Washington, DC for a clean Dream Act; and had 140 students participate in an early voting field trip. To tackle the issues of gun violence and gun control, students at Farragut Career Academy hosted conversations with their state representatives–they met with Senator Sandoval, Representative Hernandez, and will meet with Representative Taberes in June.

 

“By working on a project to support refugee populations with my students, we’re learning that we don’t have to be constrained by the 4 walls of our school–we can act outside the classroom,” said Jane Leyderman from Dever Elementary.

 

Many of the projects to be presented at the Showcase received mini-grants from the Allstate Insurance Company. The Showcase is also being supported by the Bezos Family Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Polk Bros Foundation, the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation and the Chicago Bar Foundation. Our classroom-based youth action teams are supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the Brinson Foundation and the Augustana Henze Endowment.

 

When: Tuesday, May 22, 2018 from 4pm-6pm

 

Where: The Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60609

Visuals: Over 350 young people will have their projects on display at the event. There will also be elected officials, teachers and community leaders at the event.

 

Action Civics Showcase 2018 – Project Highlights

School

Project Title

Description

Camelot Excel Academy of Southwest

“Empowering Communities via S.T.E.M.”:

To address a lack of S.T.E.M education in their communities, Camelot students created Altoid/tin direct current battery backup modules to charge Androids and iPhones. They plan to utilize their prototypes to teach community members how to build their own chargers and build a solar powered charger.

William Dever Elementary

“Refugee Assistance Project”

Students researched ways of supporting refugees–they interviewed a Syrian refugee, and the CPS refugee intake office manager. They created an awareness campaign on the travel ban impacts; organized direct actions; and will host a bake sale to benefit a local refugee organization. They will host refugee students from Sullivan High School; partner with the organization RefuSHE to support refugee girls in Nairobi, Kenya; and host CPS representative Robert Martwick at their school in June.

Morgan Park High School

“Water Please”

Concerned about the lack of usable fountains and access to water in their school, youth leaders surveyed their peers and school engineers about the issue. Students were able to use grant funds to repair one of the fountains in the cafeteria. They are now working on a plan to teach students about how to help take care of school property.

Benito Juarez Community Academy

“Juarez Navigators”

Interested in immigration advocacy and civic action, students at Juarez researched voting history and  participation (for young people and latinos) in recent elections; hosted a voter education and registration events; and sent youth to Washington, DC to lobby for a clean Dream Act; and had 140 students participate in an early voting field trip.

Farragut Career Academy

“Town Hall Meeting”

To tackle the issues of gun violence and gun control, students examined statistics and proposed gun control legislation. They invited their state representatives to their school to talk about their position about gun control, and to discuss how they see the bills they supported affecting violence in Little Village. They also held a meeting with Senator Sandoval, Representative Hernandez, and will meet with Representative Taberes in June.

 

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8,000 young people from 115 schools across Chicagoland participate in Mikva Challenge programs annually.  Named after Abner and Zoe Mikva, the Mikva Challenge is a non-partisan, nonprofit that develops youth to be informed, and active citizens and community leaders. We do this by engaging youth in action civics, an authentic and transformative learning process built on youth voice and youth expertise.