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National Service-Learning Conference 2009

Friday, March 20 – 1:45pm

Beyond the Vote:

Taking Youth Civic
Engagement to
the Next Level

Michael Minks
Outreach Manager
Youth Service America
The Future of
“We need young people to be civically
engaged in order to define and address
public problems. Their participation is
important for democracy, for institutions
such as schools, and for young people
themselves, who are more likely to succeed
in life if they are engaged in their
communities. Youth are tolerant, patriotic,
and idealistic, but most lack the skills and
opportunities they need to participate in
politics or address public problems. We must
both prepare citizens for politics and improve
politics for citizens.”
– Peter Levine
• Background & Theory (15 minutes)
• Civic Engagement Defined
• Civic Engagement & Service-Learning Standards
• Civic Engagement & the Millennials

• Research Review (20 minutes)

• Action Planning (40 minutes)
• Focus Group (10 minutes)
• Q & A (5 minutes)
“Civic Engagement”
• Almost one third of respondents felt
they did not know what this phrase
meant, and another 22 percent gave
miscellaneous responses that we
were unable to classify. (over 50%)
• Despite the popularity of the phrase
in education today, Millennials were
the most likely (at 42%) to say they
didn’t know what it meant.
- 2008 Civic Health Index
What is Civic
• “Individual and collective
actions designed to identify and
address issues of public
concern” or “all behaviors that
affect public matters”

• More than Volunteering & Voting

Youth Engagement:
Youth As Citizens
• Youth Voice
• Youth Leadership
• Youth Decision-Making
• Youth Philanthropy
• Youth Media/Journalism
• Youth Voting
• Youth Organizing
• Youth Service
• Youth Participation
• Youth Membership
• Youth Activism
• Youth Social Entrepreneurship
• Youth Governance
Civic Indicators
Relationship to Service
& Service-Learning
• Service-Learning as part of
Civic Engagement
• Civic engagement as part of
• Direct Service + Civic Action
• Advocacy Focused Projects
• Civic Action as Follow-Up

• Short-Term
• Increase in civic indicators
• Intermediate
• Sense of connectedness to community –
benefits to youth & community
• Long-Term
• Systematic youth engagement,
social/cultural/policy change
Civic Engagement
• Multi-behavior (Link to Curriculum)
• Sustained (Duration & Intensity)
• Strategic – Results (Progress Monitoring)
• Inclusive (Diversity)
• Collective (Partnerships)
• Citizen-Centered (Youth Voice)
• Issue Focused (Meaningful Service)
• Localized (Meaningful Service)
Born 1980/85 – 2000/05 (everyone currently in K-16)

• Mobile, connected, technological, communications

savvy, social networkers
• Living the cause lifestyle, highest rate of
• Racially and ethnically diverse, open-minded &
• Leadership through partnership, involved locally,
dislike spin & polarized debate, seek authentic
discussion & dialogue
• Educated, multi-taskers
Recent Research

Civic Health Index Social Citizens Millennials Talk Politics

Democracy 2.0 Citizens at the Center Civic Engagement Gap

Recent Research

• What are the 2-3 most interesting,

most important facts?

• What is one implication for your

Why Students Engage

• They are asked.

• Infrastructure & opportunities
• Engaged in other ways.
• Focused on issues.
• Expectation of engagement.
• Engagement starts early.
• All Students Need to have
Opportunities for Civic and Political
Participation & Students Need
Opportunities and Space for
Deliberation on Public Issues (MTP)
• Citizen-centered approaches:
Citizens define important issues and
decide on appropriate actions (CatC)
• Use social media as a new public
commons, build a movement (SC, D2.0)

• What are your ideas for integrating

civic engagement into your service
and service-learning programs?
• Advocacy projects?
• Reflection & Follow up?
• Direct service & civic action?
• Educate about processes, options?
• Highlight & recognize?
• Resources?
• Young Children?
Focus Group

• What resources would be helpful?

• What features should a civic engagement

website have?
• For Youth (Issues, Impact, Interact)
• For Adults

• Would a campaign help to promote

engagement and connect concepts?

Michael Minks
Outreach Manager
Youth Service America
202.296.2992 x125