Democracy is a verb.


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:
  • 14 DC schools signed on to run Mikva Challenge’s Democracy in Action curriculum in school year 2015-16.  In our second school year, we have 21 participating schools – an increase of nearly 60%.
  • This fall, over 1000 students participated in our Project Soapbox activities. Over 90% of participating students plan to take action on the issue they spoke on.
  • On May 18, 2016, Mikva Challenge showcased 15 student-led community change projects at our Action Civics Showcase
  • After completing Mikva DC’s Democracy in Action program in 2015-16,
    • 74% of students believe that it is their responsibility to make things better for society (vs. 37% of students beforehand)
    • 82% of students can analyze an issue to figure out the root cause of a problem (vs. 48% of students beforehand)
    • 91% of students know how to work with an adult decision-maker to address their issue (vs. 53% of students beforehand).
  • In our first year of the Summer Fellows program, eight Mikva DC students interned for local elected and appointed officials. These students learned about local government firsthand, while gathering important youth perspective on local public policy issues

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
Ken Adams
Steve Binder
David Bonior
Robert Brandon
Thad Fletcher
Lewis Grossman
Nicholas Guzman
Beth Heifetz
Sandy Horwitt
Cosby Hunt
Randy Kinder
Stanimir Kostov
Bruce Lerner
Jim Lingberg
Mark Maloney
Alden Matamoros
Kenann McKenzie Thompson
Judith Meltzer
Harold Moore
Ralph Neas
Michael Pistner
Tiffany Quivers
Pamela Silberman
Sarah Stettinius
Richard Wolff


of alumni of our Elections in Action programs continue to volunteer for political campaigns, vs. only 2% of 18-29 yr. old nationwide


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


young people from 115 schools across Chicagoland participate in Mikva Challenge programs annually


students campaigned during the 2015-16 Election Season


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


Chicagoland teachers participate in Mikva Challenge programs


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


Mikva students serve as election judges each election cycle

332 S Michigan Ave
Suite 400
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 863-6340

Mikva Challenge DC
1220 L St NW, Suite 605
Washington, DC 20005
Action Civics LA
1000 N. Alameda Street
Suite 340
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 346-3248 Send us An Email

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