Democracy is a verb.


Democracy In Action

We partner with teachers to train youth in essential skills needed to solve problems inside and outside of the classroom.

Our Democracy in Action program brings action civics directly to youth in classrooms and schools. Through partnerships with teachers, over 2,000 students each year engage in civic action projects that address local issues and advocate for policy change. Students identify issues in their communities and learn about local government and political processes through research, analysis and the creation of action plans to tackle these issues. They also participate in Project Soapbox, a citywide public speaking tournament where students prepare and present speeches about the top issues facing youth today to their peers and adult allies in the civic, political, and business communities. This program develops young people’s critical thinking, public speaking and research skills.

Mikva Challenge has made a huge impact on my students and my instruction. Participating in the Democracy in Action programs empowers my students to take action in their communities on issues they really care about. The Mikva curriculum gives me practical ways to honor and incorporate student voices in my instruction – making my classroom both engaging and empowering for my students.
– Linda Becker, Mikva Teacher

Democracy in Action Curriculum

Mikva’s Democracy in Action (DIA) curriculum is a comprehensive step-by-step guide 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.

Youth in this program:

  • SPEAK OUT about issues affecting them, their schools’ and communities at Project Soapbox, Mikva’s city-wide public speaking competition
  • 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’s annual Action Civics Fair.
Noteworthy Achievements:
  • Mikva’s Democracy in Action curriculum is taught by 200 teachers across the nation.
  • Over 96 activism projects were on display at our 2014 annual Action Civics Fair.
  • Almost 2,000 students take part in a 6-step community problem solving process every year.
  • 86% of participants of this program agreed or strongly agree with the statement “I believe I can make some difference in solving community problems” as compared to 41% before the program and only 55% of youth nationwide.
  • 98% of participants who attend the Action Civics Fair report a belief that the work they have done is valued by the larger community.
  • Mikva’s Action Civics Teacher Institute brings teachers together to share best practices and develop tools and strategies to teach action civics in classrooms.


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


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


Mikva students serve as election judges each election cycle


Chicagoland teachers participate in Mikva Challenge programs


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


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


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

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