Democracy is a verb.


Mikva Youth Councils

We believe that youth deserve a seat at the table with city and school leaders who make public policy that significantly affects Chicago youth.

Citywide Youth Councils

The purpose of the Citywide Youth Councils (CYCs) is to strengthen youth participation in the formation, implementation, and evaluation of public policy in city government through the creation of issue-based youth councils. The six youth councils (listed below) serve as youth policy experts and advocates, helping the Mayor, the CEO of Chicago Public Schools, the Cook County Board President, City Commissioners, and other city leaders make public policy decisions that significantly impact youth. The councils also serve as a mechanism for a broader base of Chicago youth to have input on key city policy decisions that affect them.

Our six CYC’s include:

Youth in this program:
  • SPEAK OUT about issues affecting them, their schools and communities;
  • TAKE ACTION on issues affecting their communities;
  • ADVISE city and school officials on issues affecting young people in Chicago;
  • ADVOCATE for change in their schools and communities;
  • COLLABORATE with young people from different backgrounds.
Noteworthy Achievements:
  • 95% of CYC participants can critically analyze and take steps towards solutions for citywide issues (vs. 49% before).
  • Teen Health Council trains and leads 40 youth wellness teams, who implement grassroots health activism programs in their schools.
  • Mikva’s Juvenile justice Council launched a web app,, to help people get their juvenile records expunged.
  • The Mayoral Youth Commission won Mayor Emanuel’s approval and successfully launched the Free CTA fare initiative to 10 schools with the aim of increasing school attendance rates.

I thank Mikva Challenge for empowering me to find concrete solutions to seemingly intractable problems and for helping me reach greater heights than I ever could have imagined.
– Jennifer Osagie, Mikva Class of 2008


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


students campaigned during the 2015-16 Election Season


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


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


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


teachers participate in Mikva Challenge programs across the country.


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

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Los Angeles, CA 90034
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