Over fifty youth and adults from eight communities throughout the state participated in the Next Generation Capitol Focus, an “extended” version of our longstanding flagship program, Capitol Focus. Read on to learn about what the participants are up to next!
The overall goal of Capitol Focus Next Generation was for participants to develop partnerships that support classroom, community, and state level civic engagement opportunities for youth; and to advance progress on urgent issues facing our state. Participants returned to their communities with action plans to educate their peers on priority issues and motivate others to participate in civic affairs.
A FEW WORDS FROM OUR PARTICIPANTS
“This program really made me want to put myself out there and be further involved in politics and getting the details on things that concern me and the rest of my community.”
-Capitol Focus Participant, Sacramento High School in Sacramento
“One of the best parts of the Capitol Focus Program was being able to meet with our legislators. This was important to me because I didn’t know they were accessible to us and willing to listen to our opinions.”
-Capitol Focus Participant, Irvington High School in Freemont
“When we get home we are going to give a presentation to our city council and school board to show them how much we learned and how this program benefited us.”
-Capitol Focus Participant, Arena High School in El Segundo
LOCAL ACTION PLANS
This year youth and their adult allies were asked to conduct a follow-up activity in their community such as conduct youth presentations about the issues they studied; classroom activity plans developed by participating educators; and create a local action plan to sustain and expand civic engagement opportunities for youth in each community. Below are some of the team’s local plans.
Youth are developing a Social Justice course at Sacramento High School, to build greater awareness around key policy issues and to empower more youth to be civically involved in the community.
At Roosevelt High School youth want to conduct presentations on campus to educate their peers on health, education and criminal justice issues. They also plan to conduct a teacher training on the state government with the goal that more teachers will include this information in their course curriculum.
Youth are collaborating with local elementary schools to build awareness amongst immigrant families and youth on the importance of education and opportunities for civic engagement.
Students are fired up about education reform issues and are partnering with Mayor Ashley Swearengin to reshape education reform policies with in the community.
At Irvington High School youth are working with staff from Assemblymember Mary Hayashi’s office to develop a peer-to-peer education program to strengthen student relationships and build a more positive youth environment in the community. They also plan to conduct a youth-friendly classroom presentation on criminal justice issues with the overall goal is to educate their peers on important policy issues.
Youth are preparing a presentation for over 30 local business partners and stakeholders to educate them on health and education policy issues and the importance of creating more civic engagement opportunities for youth.
Youth have already presented to their school board on the policy issues they learned about at the program as well as the importance of youth getting involved in civic engagement opportunities. One student has began an internship this summer with a local councilmen and plans to support the structure of a government class at his school next year.
NEXT STEPS: CAPITOL PRESENTATION IN OCTOBER 2010
In October we will send two representatives to an State Capitol Presentation by representatives of participating communities and other youth activists that will be made to our advisory committee, sponsor representatives and elected officials that will feature highlights of local civic engagement and state-level policy recommendations to support civic engagement be youth. Stay tuned for more updates!