Reconvening | Reimagining | Refocusing
Youth Civic Leadership in 2021-22
Critical thinking. Shared problem-solving. Civil discourse. Understanding local systems. Acting for positive change. These are the building blocks of powerful, responsible citizenship. Civic Nebraska introduces these concepts to students early on – and this year, amid a continued pandemic, turned to our community-based, student-centered Youth Civic Leadership programs to meet a critical need.
Not only did we meet the moment, but we rose to new heights in community engagement and empowerment in 2021.
As COVID-19 persisted, our Youth Civic Leadership programs became even greater neighborhood hubs. Beyond providing daily outside-of-school enrichment and education, they extended into their communities to provide resources, support, and assistance to families. With a host of partners, we distributed more than 1,000 free PPE kits in late 2020 and early 2021. We provided community improvement mini-grants for students and families to reinforce civic engagement. And by gathering, facilitating, and organizing, we helped expand the state’s network of Little Free Pantries.
In the virtual space, we strengthened our innovative CIVIC U. virtual learning hub and launched the Service Learning Center for Excellence resource for Nebraska instructors. And in fall 2021, we built Forming A More Perfect Union, an interactive K-12 civics enrichment curriculum. In addition to being embedded in Civic Nebraska’s before- and after-school programs, Forming a More Perfect Union is used for free by educators and after-school providers across our state.
“We the People” means our youngest citizens, too. Students who think critically about, and make meaning of, societal issues are better able to navigate their individual environments and succeed in them. Our Youth Civic Leadership programs empower young people to critically and creatively engage with the world – and work to improve it.
Youth Civic Leadership by the numbers
Short films featured during the inaugural Lincoln CommUNITY Student Film Festival, which originated in our high-school Community Learning Centers in Lincoln and was eventually featured at Lincoln Arts Fest in June.
Schools across the state that are touched by Civic Nebraska’s programs. These include our Community Learning Centers, engaging clubs, and service-learning programs in all grades in urban and rural Nebraska.
Dedicated full- and part-time staff that make up our Youth Civic Leadership program, up from just two staff members in 2014. This team delivers high-quality programming every day, before and after school.
Every single student, every single family, every single team member contributes to the success of the Youth Civic Leadership mission: One organization dedicated to creating a robust Nebraska democracy that is supported by good citizens.
In the coming year, our Youth Civic Leadership program will:
›› Implement mission-aligned programming, continuing to build on the foundation of Forming a More Perfect Union to erect a powerful framework for adding civics and citizenship to all of our programs
›› Expand service-learning programs in Greater Nebraska to help students learn to value their hometowns and invest in making them better places to live and work
›› Continue to create environments where children learn and families are confident that they are safe and healthy in efficient, sustainable out-of-school-time programs