Top Ten Mikva Challenge Moments of 2016

  • We started the year with a campaign trip to Iowa just before the 2016 Presidential primaries. Over 200 youth from Illinois, California and Washington,DC campaigned for the candidates of their choice. Check out the video (above) from the trip, and you’ll be amazed at how much they learned from it.
  • img_0109Our summer program brings out the very best of Mikva Challenge. For the first time, we hired 242 young people in paid jobs to become part of our Citywide Youth Council programs. Young people were exposed to an extensive leadership development process, interacted with high ranking government and other civic and community leaders, and had the opportunity to create policy recommendations on issues that deeply impact them. Here’s a quick photo slide show of the summer.
  • Our Teen Health Council won the Chicago Neighborhood Development Award Youth Health Activism Award for initiating youth-led grass roots health movement in schools through small youth wellness teams. Here’s the video from LISC about their work.
  • This story hits the core of what Mikva Challenge is all about. We’re so proud of our alum, Berto Aguayo, who when exposed to a summer internship with Mikva Challenge turned his life around. He walked away from gang life to now being an activist in his community. Here’s his story.
  • Hardie FlemingMikva Challenge trained and placed over 1600 student election judges across the city of Chicago. We’re the only city in the nation to have such a robust student judge program! Here’s a Chicago Tribune article about it.
  • This year, we made a concerted effort to include more young people who’ve had contact with the juvenile justice system in our Juvenile Justice Policymaking Council. Here’s the story of Hardie Fleming, who won our Justice & Equity Award at our Youth Change Maker Benefit for his work in helping Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle, improve the juvenile justice system for young people.
  • img_3762This year was also a tough one for us, as we lost our co-founder and mentor, Judge Abner Mikva, on July 4, 2016. But we were so touched by all the tributes that we received honoring his years in public service and his stellar ethics and character. Here’s the link to all of those tributes.
  • Last but not the least, we ended the year with our transformative Project Soapbox Competition. For the first time, we expanded this program to include not just Chicago, California and Washington, DC, but also Atlanta, Oakland, Charlotte, Mililani (Hawai’i), and Madison. Here are some of the video submissions from around the nation. 

Posted on December 12, 2016 in Mikva News

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young people served in the Chicagoland area, California and Washington DC


students campaigned during the 2015-16 Election Season


of Mikva alumni continue to volunteer in their communities, vs. only 36% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


Chicagoland teachers participate in Mikva Challenge programs


of Mikva alumni encourage their friends and family to be politically engaged, vs. only 35% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


students from 117 schools nationwide presented speeches and/or worked on civic action projects


of Mikva alumni are registered voters, vs. only 53% of 18-29 yr. olds nationwide


Mikva students serve as election judges each election cycle

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