Democracy is a verb.


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 and 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

Issues to Action Curriculum

Mikva’s Issues to Action (ITA) curriculum is a comprehensive step-by-step guide that empowers students with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions to be “superstar citizens” and community advocates. At the core of this framework is the idea that youth 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
  • 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
Noteworthy Achievements:
  • 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!

American Soapbox winner, Megan McCall, speaks on student advocacy and school-wide recycling program. Follow link for more!

American Soapbox winner, Sebastian Rios-Barragan, speaks on community violence and anxiety. Follow link to read more!




Youth Activist, Cyanne Rangel, speaks on her campaigning trip in Iowa and advocacy work in Boyle Heights. Follow link to read more!

Youth Activist, Wagner Escobedo, speaks on the relevance of youth voice and the importance of immigration for the nation.              Follow link to read more!


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

Saul Sarabia, Chair
Adam Wemmer
Adele Lander Burke
Alexandra Bissonette
Bill Macomber
Bob Perkins
Christian Lindke
Clint Schaff
Cynthia Hirschhorn
Dr. Eduardo Lopez
Edgar Khalatian
Ellyce Cooper
Erica Ramirez
Ethan Falk
Ivelisse Estrada
Jason Woliner
Jessica Levinson
Kamy Akhaven
Laura Krafft
Leelai Demoz
Linda Yaron
Michelle Herczog
Steve Krone
Tony Pennay
Tony Terry

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.


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


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


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


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


Mikva students serve as election judges each election cycle


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


students campaigned during the 2015-16 Election Season

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Action Civics LA
1000 N. Alameda Street
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Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 346-3248 Send us An Email

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