Action Civics LA
Action Civics LA is leveraging Issues to Action with teachers and youth throughout Southern California.
Modeled after Mikva Challenge’s successful civic engagement programming developed for youth in Chicago, Action Civics LA provides opportunities for young people in Southern California to engage in Action Civics, community problem-solving, and seeks to increase youth voice in local decision-making processes. Through our program youth become more prepared to be leaders in their college, career, and community.
Students were empowered through the process of examining issues in their community and taking action to spread the word about their issues. It was a powerful experience for them to hear from each other and see themselves as agents of change.
– Linda Yaron, Action Civics LA Teacher
Action Civics LA’s signature work is our Issues to Action program in which local teachers implement a curriculum that empowers students with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions to be “superstar citizens” and community advocates. At its 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 strategy 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. Learn more about the Issues to Action program.
As part of our Issues to Action work, students participate in our Project Soapbox competition. Project Soapbox is a public speaking competition facilitated by Action Civics LA that calls young people to speak out on issues that affect them and their communities. These powerful speeches have lasting, transformative impacts on classrooms, schools, and communities. Watch our Project Soapbox youth in action on our YouTube channel.
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 Action Civics LA’s sponsored events
- In 2017 our Action Civics school, Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, received California’s highest award for Civic Education – The Award of Excellence – awarded by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye.
- We hosted a Youth Activism Conference in February 2015 at the LA Central Library that was attended by nearly 200 teens.
- After participating in Action Civics LA Issues to Action program and events,
- 97% of students felt they were better at working together within a group
- 95% of students felt they improved their public speaking skills
- 96% of students felt what they shared was important to others
- 96% of students felt they were a part of a larger community of young people from high schools across the city.
- 99% of students felt their action project had a positive impact on their community and/or school.
- 99% of students now believe that youth have the power to improve their school or community.
- 90% of participants of this program agreed with the statement “I believe I can make some difference in solving community problems” as compared to 38% before the program and only 55% of youth nationwide.
- After implementing the Issues to Action curriculum into their classrooms,
- 100% of teachers agree that the program led to their students increasing their civic knowledge
- 100% agree that the curriculum improved their teaching practice
- We took five Southern California American Soapbox winners to Washington DC to perform their speeches in Lafayette Square and participate in the Mikva Challenge National Youth Summit.
- Through the 2016-2017 academic year, Action Civics LA partnered with the Skirball Cultural Center on an 8-week in-class artist residency titled “From Issues to Action: Art-Making for Democracy.”
- Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu sponsored our Action Civics Showcase in the Tom Bradley Room of City Hall for nearly 100 youth.
My experiences with Action Civics LA has not only greatly informed me on politics, but has given me the confidence to speak openly on my views and inform others in my community as well.
—Action Civics LA high school student
Action Civics LA Youth Spotlights!
Participating Action Civics LA Schools
- Augustus F. Hawkins Community Health Advocates School
- Augustus F. Hawkins Responsible Indigenous Social Entrepreneurship School
- Century High School
- Dale Junior High School
- Doig Intermediate
- Hancock Park Elementary School
- High Tech High – Chula Vista
- High Tech High – North County
- Legacy High School Complex
- Lexington Middle School
- Long Beach Polytechnic High School
- Mendez High School
- Northwood High School
- Pathways Community Charter School
- Santa Ana High School
- Santiago Elementary School
- Social Justice Humanitas Academy
- University High School
- Valor Academy High School
2016-2017 Impacts at a Glance
Action Civics LA Advisory Board
Ethan Falk, Action Civics LA Development Committee Chair
Adele Lander Burke
Saul Sarabia, Action Civics LA Board Chair
Action Civics LA Partners Board
Diana Colin, Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
John Dobard, Advancement Project
Marilú Guevara, League of Women Voters of Los Angeles
Mary Kim, Dept of Neighborhood Empowerment
Semee Park, Dept of Neighborhood Empowerment
Andrew Suh, Office of Councilmember Ryu
Liz Vogel, Facing History & Ourselves
Mona Yeh, Funders Collaborative on Youth Organizing
Help Action Civics LA provide high-quality leadership and civics programs to teens through your generosity. Your gift helps us build a better democracy one leader at a time.