There are many opportunities to learn about civic engagement, its importance to a thriving democracy, and how it can be nurtured and grown. Here is just a sample of the many resources available online.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) together with iCivics, has created an online game, "Counties Work," to educate students, grades 6 through 12, about the important role and functions of county government by letting them run their own county. A curriculum and web quest has also been developed to assist teachers with preparing lessons on county government.
Volunteer Gwinnett is based in Gwinnett County, Georgia. It is a countywide program designed to involve more residents in volunteer activities to help provide residents with the best services and programs possible. County volunteers directly contribute to the excellent quality of life residents enjoy in the community. Gwinnett County is expanding the program with a bold goal of reaching 1 million volunteer hours by 2015.
The Hall County Government Scholars’ Academy is a free, interactive program that offers citizens an intimate understanding of how their tax dollars are spent and issues facing the county through nine weekly sessions. Participants learn about the different areas of local government, including the sheriff’s office, the court system, fire services and EMA, public works, and E911. Many sessions include tours of county facilities.
The Chatham County Youth Commission provides a vehicle for young citizens to learn about government, participate in the process and to represent and articulate the needs of youth in the County. The Commission seeks to prepare youth for a lifetime of public and community service regardless of their present or future career aspirations.
The Fulton County Youth Commission is a leadership and service orientated program that empowers youths to become knowledgeable and involved in the local governmental process. Through this program, each year approximately 25 Fulton County students in grades 8-11 communicate with their peers and local government leaders to increase awareness about the most pertinent issues facing Fulton County’s children, youth, and schools.
K-12 Education Related
In 2009, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor founded iCivics to reverse Americans’ declining civic knowledge and participation. Securing our democracy, she realized, requires teaching the next generation to understand and respect our system of governance. iCivics prepares young Americans to become knowledgeable, engaged 21st century citizens by creating free and innovative educational materials.
The Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools was created to expand and improve civic learning in K-12 schools and in higher education. It was founded in 2004 to serve as the civic learning community’s public and policymaker advocacy arm.
In 2011, the Campaign published its report, “Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools.”
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education issued a report "Advancing Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy: A Road Map and Call to Action." (Note this link will download a PDF of the report.)
Higher Education Related
Released in 2012, a report from the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement entitled “A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future” calls on the nation to reclaim higher education’s civic mission.
The American Democracy Project is a multi-campus initiative focused on higher education’s role in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens for our democracy. The goal is to produce graduates who are committed to being active, involved citizens in their communities. Participating institutions are members of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
The American Commonwealth Partnership brings together universities, colleges, schools and other civic partners to promote civic education, civic mission and civic identity throughout all of education in the United States.
Campus Compact is a national coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. It promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum.
The Democracy Commitment (TDC) is a national initiative providing a platform for the development and expansion of community college programs, projects and curricula aiming at engaging students in civic learning and democratic practice across the country. The goal of TDC is that every graduate of an American community college shall have had an education in democracy.
Civic Engagement Organizations
The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress in 1953 that believes everyone has the power to make a difference in how their community and country thrive. It seeks to explore what shapes today’s citizenry, define the evolving role of an individual in democracy, and uncover ways to motivate greater participation.
The Corporation for National & Community Service web site offers a comprehensive look at volunteering and civic life in the 50 states and in 51 cities across the country. Data includes volunteer rates and rankings, civic engagement trends, and analysis.
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans
NOTE: The links provided here are for informational purposes only and the content on other Web sites is not represented by the ACCG Civic Affairs Foundation to be error free. The links provided to other Web sites are provided as a courtesy and are not intended to, nor do they, constitute an endorsement by the Foundation of the linked materials.