Democracy is a verb.


Project Soapbox




Are you a teacher outside of Chicago, LA, and DC who is looking for American Soapbox? Please click here

What is Project Soapbox?

Project Soapbox is a public speaking competition facilitated by Mikva Challenge 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.

What comprises a Project Soapbox speech? 

  • Soapbox speeches are two-minutes long.
  • A soapbox speech is about an issue that the student identifies, not an assigned topic.
  • It includes relevant research and evidence on the issue.
  • It addresses a specific audience.
  • It includes a call to action.

What is the Project Soapbox prompt? 

The 2016 Project Soapbox prompt is:

The soapbox speech originates from the days when speakers would elevate themselves to an audience by standing on a wooden crate, or soapbox, to make an impromptu speech about a political topic or community issue. This speech gives the opportunity to persuade the audience to understand, care, act, vote, or speak out on an issue that affects the community.

This election season your voice matters, and Mikva Challenge wants you to get on that soapbox and tell the next president about an issue that affects your community. Your speech might offer a solution, create awareness, ask the audience or elected officials to act, or call the president to action. In two minutes or less, what is the most pressing issue facing young people today, why is it important, and what should be done to address it?

Is there a Project Soapbox curriculum?

Yes! Click here to download our Project Soapbox curriculum.

Where can I find examples of Project Soapbox student speeches?

You can check out our YouTube channel for examples of Project Soapbox speeches from 2015.

Are you a teacher interested in participating in Project Soapbox this year? 

Additional FAQ’s

How does Project Soapbox fit in classroom instruction? Project Soapbox is a perfect platform for building classroom community at the beginning of the school year while providing social and emotional learning opportunities for teachers to utilize throughout the rest of the year. In addition, the skills that are critical to a young person’s ability to become an advocate for pressing community issues are the skills that will prepare them for an active and engage civic life. Students are invested and engage meaningfully in the writing and revision process and develop skills in persuasive and argumentative writing, research, speaking, listening, and compelling delivery.

Who can participate? While participation has traditionally occurred in high school Social Studies and English classrooms, students from all grade levels and content areas can participate. Elementary school participation has increased over the last few years, and other content areas such as Art and Science have found a way to leverage youth voice and expertise through Soapbox units.

How can I get my students involved in a citywide competition?

Do I have to have my students participate in the citywide competition? Nope!  You can have students present speeches in your classroom, to family members, or even the school community, without the competition component.  The real value is in acquiring an audience – students speeches need to be heard.

I’ve heard about Project Soapbox and American Soapbox — are they the same thing? Project Soapbox is the original name of curriculum and our citywide public speaking competition in Chicago. This year, Project Soapbox is part of the American Soapbox Initiative, which encourages thousands of students from around the United States to join the debate about the future of our country and to give speeches about youth issues that they would like the country and the next president to address.

Winners of American Soapbox classroom competitions around the country have a chance to enter into our American Soapbox online competition via video submission in lieu of citywide competitions.

Winners of the online competition will have the opportunity to attend the Presidential Inauguration and give their speeches to a national audience in DC. Winners of Project Soapbox citywide competitions in Chicago, LA, and DC will also have the chance to attend the Presidential Inauguration. 


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


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


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


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


Mikva students serve as election judges each election cycle


teachers participate in Mikva Challenge programs across the country.


students campaigned during the 2015-16 Election Season

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