We are highlighting the award winners for our Strengthening Democracy Awards on April 30th at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln. Buy your tickets here.
This year, Nebraskans for Civic Reform and Dr. L.J. McElravy with the Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC) department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln created and implemented the Rural Civic Action Program. The program connects middle and high school students in rural areas with undergraduate fellows trained in leadership and service learning. Together, the students identify community issues and address them through meaningful service learning projects.
The project has four goals:
- Identify and assess community issues.
- Develop leadership skills.
- Promote students’ capacity to positively impact their communities now and in the future.
- Engage in community issues.
Undergraduate fellows visit rural classrooms 6-8 times throughout an academic semester to guide students through the service learning process. In the first year, projects have ranged from building community unity to raising awareness about healthy eating to cleaning up local parks. Classes involved range in subject area from health to civics to agriscience.
In each project, undergraduate fellows are trained and practice guiding students to success by capitalizing on community assets, targeting community liabilities, and creating meaningful partnerships. Students and fellows create meaningful connections that help to build valuable social capital and community efficacy within the academic context.
Because of their willingness to implement new and innovative programming and dedication to student success and engagement, Dr. L.J. McElravy and the ALEC department are receiving our outstanding community partner award.