Our Mission

To empower youth to be active and valued participants in decision making processes at all levels.


36 Years and Still Going Strong!

Our Story

The California Center for Civic Participation (Cal Center), established in 1980, originally served as the non-profit host for the widely respected California Journal Magazine, a non-partisan publication dealing with state politics. In the early 80’s, Executive Director James Muldavin steered the focus of the organization toward programs to support young people in learning about, responding to, and acting in the political process.

The first of these was Capitol Focus, our flagship education program which began in 1981 and still convenes annually. Over the years, our Civic Education programs have taken many forms. Structured to provide interesting, understandable exposures to key information and people, our Civic Education programs still embody an ideal that has inspired our work from the beginning: to inform and excite young people about participating in the democratic process. 

In the mid-90s, Cal Center began developing programs to prepare young people to take a leadership role in public policy. This approach offers long-term support to youth as they identify and tackle challenges in their own communities, then work with peers and adults to affect changes. Today our Policy Leadership Programs continue to address topics which directly affect the lives of young people including many aspects of adolescent health, and planning for a sustainable future.

Throughout Cal Center’s history, our programs have informed and strengthened each other. We have evolved, refining our methods and responding to the changing needs and interests of young people. We have grown, broadening our scope from local to international. We are now able to offer support to other fledgling projects and organizations, such as the Young Planners Network and the Youth Graduation Empowerment Project. Because of new partnerships, we now participate not only in short-term education programs, but in initiatives that will span a decade.  We look forward to the future!

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