Mikva Challenge has developed a strategy to replicate its unique and high-impact action civics work on a national scale.
Mikva Challenge was founded in Chicago in 1998, the hometown of Judge Abner Mikva and his wife Zoe Mikva, with the idea of opening up democratic spaces for youth living in under resourced neighborhoods and politically “insignificant” communities.
We started off as a small initiative with 20 students participating in Action Civics projects but the success of our Action Civics model has led us to become a leading force in the field of civic education and youth development. Today Mikva Challenge serves over 15,000 youth every year with offices in Chicago, Southern California and Washington D.C., and partnerships with many school districts across the nation.
What is driving our replication strategy is three-fold: the increasing demand for civic engagement opportunities for youth in cities with large low-income populations, a movement by educators and policymakers nationally to reinvigorate civic learning in public schools, and the urgent need to address the cynicism of young people who feel powerless to impact government.
We identified Los Angeles, California and Washington, D.C. as best suited to replicate Mikva programs in our first phase. In both cities, we’re working with teachers and schools to implement our action civics curricula that involve young people in authentic democratic experiences to increase youth civic participation and close the civic achievement gap.
Read more on Mikva’s action civics model here.
In “No Citizen Left Behind” Dr. Meira Levinson cites Mikva Challenge’s youth civic engagement work as “the gold standard for guided experiential civic education.”
“Research has shown that students who have the opportunity of participating in programs like the Mikva Challenge develop a commitment for life-long, informed civic engagement. The Mikva Challenge and the Mikva Action Civics network are among the very best civic learning programs in the nation. Every student should have an opportunity to participate in the Mikva Challenge programs,” said Ted McConnell, the Executive Director of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools.