Mikva Challenge DC
Modeled after the successful civic engagement programming developed for youth in Chicago, Mikva Challenge DC provides opportunities for young people in DC to engage in action civics and community problem solving, and seeks to increase youth voice in local decision making processes.
Using Mikva Challenge’s Democracy in Action (DIA) curriculum, local teachers implement a curriculum that empowers students with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions to be “superstar citizens.” At the core is the idea that students explore their communities from an asset based perspective, identify issues that are important to them and their community, research the issue, analyze power, and ultimately develop an action plan and take action. We train teachers in this curriculum, provide ongoing classroom support, and host city-wide events that gather all participating students to showcase their efforts.
Mikva DC Noteworthy Achievements:
- In the 2017-18 school year, more than 25 DC schools have signed up to run Mikva Challenge’s Democracy in Action curriculum – almost doubling our participating schools since our first official year in 2015-16.
- Last fall, nearly 1000 students participated in our Project Soapbox activities. Over 90% of participating students plan to take action on the issue they spoke on.
- On March 23, 2017, Mikva Challenge showcased over 25 student led community change projects at our Annual Action Civics Showcase.
- After completing Mikva DC’s Issues to Action program in 2016-17,
- 87% of students believe they can make some difference in solving community problems (vs. 48% of students beforehand).
- 85% of students believe they can express their views in front of a group of people (vs. 50% of students beforehand).
- 91% of students know how to work with an adult decision-maker to address their issue (vs. 56% of students beforehand).
- In our second year of the Summer Fellows program, we are happy to have grown our summer fellows by almost 40%. Students interned for local elected and appointed officials. During the week, students interned for elected or appointed officials in the DC government, and learn about local policy making.
Youth in this program:
- SPEAK OUT about issues affecting them, their schools’ and communities
- ADVOCATE for change in their schools and communities
- COLLABORATE with young people from different backgrounds
- RESEARCH an issue and set a goal
- DEVELOP an action plan to affect change
- SHOWCASE their year-long activism efforts at Mikva Challenge DC’s annual Action Civics Showcase
As a youth advocate, it was a deeply humbling experience for me to volunteer as a Project Soapbox judge. The high school students I met are not waiting for a college-level sociology course to delve into complex topics like gentrification, body shaming, and combating domestic violence, and they are delivering powerful speeches aimed at the hearts and minds of their audience. It was a meaningful reminder that the best advocates for youth are often the youths themselves. — Joseph Gavrilovich, guest judge
Mikva Challenge DC: Participating Schools
- Anacostia Senior High School
- Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
- Center City Public Charter Schools
- Columbia Heights Educational Campus
- Eastern High School
- Edmund Burke School
- EL Haynes Public Charter School
- Frank W. Ballou Senior High School
- H.D. Woodson Senior High School
- Jefferson Middle School
- Kelly Miller Middle School
- Luke C Moore Senior High School
- McKinley Tech High School
- Paul Laurence Dunbar High School
- Phelps ACE High School
- Roosevelt STAY Academy
- Schools Without Walls High School
- SEED Public Charter School
- Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School
- Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School
- Woodrow Wilson High School
Mikva Challenge DC Advisory Board