"The CU Fellowship not only helped me and the other 2020 Fellows define our civic purpose, but connected us with the world unlike any other program or organization I have experienced. My weekly discussions with my peers in the program helped me understand so many more perspectives and have inspired me to seek out new experiences. I learned more about myself than I would have ever expected. What's more is that the goals and expectations that my peers and I set for ourselves and each other laid the roadmap for our work over the next decade to strengthen American democracy."
"Given the tremendous challenges that American democracy faces in this new decade, Civics Unplugged has been a rare source of hope for my generation as we look to take on responsibility for building the future. As a 2020 Fellow, the Fellowship cultivated a sense of mutual understanding among my peers that we face a lot of problems, and that it's much better to face them together. On July 4th, 2020, the Fellows and I could have not been more excited to join the Civics 2030 community, through which will get all the support we will need to turn our vision of a healthy, people-centered democracy a reality."
"Civics Unplugged was a big highlight of this pandemic. Given that the Fellowship was virtual before social distancing, CU remained a rare constant in a world full of changes. Beyond the extremely relevant curriculum that challenged us to understand who we are and who we want to be, I truly loved the virtual world we built, where we all had the chance to know and trust and learn from each other. Our chats and calls were how we could, on one hand get a break from what was happening outside the Fellowship, and on the other hand have deep and thoughtful discussions on how we could address the challenges facing our democracy and build the future together. The best part about it all is that the amazing community built during 2020 Fellowship continues on through the Civics 2030 community."
San Antonio, TX
"I have always hated doing school projects. If it was a subject I wasn't interested in; I would always lose focus. I would always try my best to make it great, but it was a battle. When I saw the Leadership Blueprint, it was daunting; it looked like a lot. But, as I started to complete the assignments, I enjoyed filling them out, I could make the blueprint my own and personalize it. Using the Blueprint has made me learn new things about myself that I would never have thought of. It's allowed me to learn my strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly for the future. Before starting the Fellowship, I had an unclear direction for the future and where I wanted to go with my civic journey. Now, I have plans and goals I am determined to accomplish. The Leadership Blueprint helped me see 20/20."
"Civics Unplugged showed me just how valuable my generation is. I knew that we had the optimism and idealism to truly create an America that values all people no matter their race, religion, or economic status; but CU showed me the tools that my generation poses to make the change actually happen. Through CU I obtained a concrete idea of how Gen Z can use technology to reform democracy and that we are not the leaders of the future but the leaders of now. In a world where technology is becoming embedded into every part of our lives, I am proud to say that CU has added a variety of different platforms to my tech tool arsenal that I can use in my future service projects."
"Today, there are a lot of people who tell teens and young adults what they should do and who they should be. But the CU curriculum does the opposite. We began by contemplating what we value, enjoy, and care most about. This helped me realize what I wanted to do with my life- and I’m not talking about a career choice. Because of Civics Unplugged, I looked back on my experiences and began to recognize my own behavioral patterns. I’ve been able to put into writing not only what I am passionate about, but also why it matters. Taking a look at ways you can improve as an individual and the abilities you have is the first step to being equipped to help those around you. We learned how to work as a team to apply our gifts and talents to the many communities CU fellows are a part of. We’ve increased our awareness of the unregistered biases that all people foster as well. To prevent ourselves from judging situations too hastily, which happens frequently in politics and day- to- day life, we’ve studied how to approach complicated scenarios and complex systems. These are just a few of the skills we’ve developed as Civics Unplugged fellows, but they are imperative, and often unknown, tools that anyone, no matter their situation, can use."
"I loved the CU Fellowship for so many reasons. CU’s curriculum was designed to allow its Fellows to network with other bright, accomplished teenagers from all over the country, as well as develop relationships that go beyond the awkward business-like interactions. With this, CU helped me meet passionate, like-minded people. Furthermore, CU has prompted me to look deep into my desires and skills to future cast and identify what careers I can pursue, what lifestyle I want to achieve, and what my definition of success looks like. With this, CU empowered me and made me feel unstoppable. Finally, what I believe makes CU’s curriculum special is that it was engineered specifically for youth in my generation. Here at CU, my fellow Fellows and I are proud to say that we are Gen Zers because we now understand the integral part that we all play in American democracy- not just for the future, but right now!"
WHY CIVICS 2030 MATTERS
"Considering that we learned the fundamentals of how to become a Civic Superhero during the CU Fellowship, the Civics 2030 Campaign was the perfect next step to apply what we learned in the Fellowship into real-world projects that we're passionate about! From providing inspiration to funding, and from providing mentorship to teammate matching, Civics 2030 will supercharge the efforts of my generation to build the democracy of our dreams!"
St. Louis, MO
"Given that the pace at which the world changes has accelerated in recent months and years, it's never been more important to give America's future leaders the space and opportunity to experiment with solutions that meet the unique challenges of our times. And given that the Civics 2030 Campaign creates the civics playground my peers need to develop new ideas for this new world, I could not be more excited to have joined the Campaign as a Founding Builder."
"With Civics 2030, I’ll have access to the movers & shakers in the world who can help me take my work to the next level. My peers and I are hopeful for the future of our communities and democracy—but we also have lots of questions and ideas and undirected passion. Sometimes we just need to know there are powerful adults who will guide us in the right direction and have our backs."
"Youth have been on the front lines of system change and community empowerment for decades, whether that be the Greensboro Four, Ruby Bridges, students at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, Sunrise or so many other culture-shifting movements. Our education system, though, teaches the youth to wait their turn. Our society cannot and should not be teaching us that we can be future leaders when we want to be leaders right now. Civics 2030 challenges that paradigm by emboldening Generation Z to take on the systems that they want to change. I am excited to be a part of the Civics 2030 community as it accelerates the projects, potential, and power of our generation to lead our communities and democracy to a brighter future."
"The CU Fellowship helped set me up for the future, because I now know how to make my dreams tangible. I know how to make the elusive something within reach. I now understand that I can, and because of what I learned here, I can make a big difference in building the future of our democracy. I now know I’m not alone, and that I am a part of a team that's growing by the day.
As great as the Fellowship was for me and so many others, we need your help, your time, your money, your ideas, your contributions, and your willpower to keep the momentum going. We are coming, and are going to try to knock down those doors and bring some change. The only question is are you with us?! We hope you hop on the Civics 2030 train!"
"The CU Fellowship really helped me understand who I want to be, and gave me the tools to design my life in a way that will allow me to balance succeeding in school and developing as a social entrepreneur.
I'm so grateful to have joined Civics 2030 as the next step in my leadership development journey! From connecting me to world-class mentors, to providing funding for my work, Civics 2030 will supercharge my ability to execute on my ideas and pursue my dreams over the course of this decade."
"CU sets us up for the future by equipping us with a new level of self-awareness. At CU, we talk a lot about finding the 'you-shaped hole in the world.' Taking the time to sit down and assess my values, strengths, weaknesses, long-term goals, and more allowed me to critically think about how I can help provoke meaningful change. And not only does CU talk a big game about meaningful change- they actually give young leaders the means to make an impact. CU lends fellows the funds, connections, and mentorship necessary to create change, and asks them to be a part of a long-term community, known as Civics 2030. That is what makes it different from other youth leadership organizations."
"I was first recommended to apply to the Civics Unplugged (CU) Fellowship by an adult program organizer at Facing History and Ourselves Chicago. It seemed that the two initiatives had a lot in common, especially when it came to recognizing the often underdeveloped potential and power the younger generation has in today's sociopolitical climate. What caught my eye about CU was its drive for doing. There exist seemingly infinite programs that provide educational insight to students, whether it be learning about pre-colonial America, the Declaration of Independence, or current political systems. Few, however, take the extra step of thrusting complete agency into the hands of the young learner, the young creative, the young advocate. This agency is further nurtured through CU's cohort, or 'Junto', system, where each Junto group is lead by an adult civics professional. Through weekly video conferences with my junto members, I became proximate to group of diverse students from all across the United States, all of whom had come together with the common mission to re-evaluate and reinvent what it means to be an ethical citizen, leader, and member of Generation-Z in the 21st Century. Lastly, CU is more than just a one-year initiative. The very design of the Fellowship encourages students to make a 10-year commitment. In fact, at the time of this writing (June 2020), Founding Fellows are drafting the 2030 Civics Unplugged Declaration and planning Commence 2030, where selected students will be honored for their work in building the future of American democracy. By celebrating Gen-Z and looking towards the future, CU has established itself as a leading initiative that empowers young leaders and advocates for productive, inclusive, and collaborative change!"
HEAR FROM OUR SUPPORTERS
Founder, CEO Open Primaries
I joined the Civics 2030 community as a Champion because our understanding and practice of civics cannot be static. It must grow as the challenges facing our country, our world, and our democracy change.
70 years ago, the political parties served as “schools for democracy” and were largely trusted by the American people. That trust is gone. But the need to develop and grow new leaders has not disappeared; if anything, it is more important than ever.
I can’t wait to work with the young leaders in the Civics 2030 community to create new forms of civic life and participation!
Public Events and Youth Programs Coordinator The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
During COVID-19, my in-person teen programming was shifted to virtual and I noticed that conversations among museum professionals was focused around adapting what we all did well in-person to virtual. It felt like trying to fit a square block into a circular hole. Instead, I decided to look outside of museums and learn from organizations like Civics Unplugged that intentionally designed virtual programs. The fact that they are so transparent and organized with their program design is unheard of and inspiring. Their program ideology and facilitation approach are things every teen program should learn from. They set the best practice standards by backing up every part of their program with research and evidence. Diving into their website over a few days, I completely understood their approach, developmental outcomes, and objectives. It helped me convert my two teen programs using this innovative program design. I was particularly impressed with their pillars and their Leadership Blueprint model. I plan to share what I have learned from CU with other teen-serving museum educators as we all attempt to do what CU is already exceptional at!
Special Assistant to the CEO for External Relations and Operations at the Robin Hood Foundation Formerly: Chief Advisor to the NYC Children's Cabinet
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, I spearheaded the Fun at Home campaign, a citywide digital platform to provide safe, fun, and entertaining virtual activities for NYC teens and young adults who were encouraged to stay at home and practice social distancing.
As someone who serves young people for their living, I can confidently say that now more than ever, we need young civic superheroes in civil society and government to 1) help us fight this pandemic now, and 2) work to ensure that something like this never happens again.
I've joined Civics 2030 as a Champion because it provides the necessary support and funding our nation's young civic superheroes need as they build a democracy that is healthier, more resilient, and works better for us all.
Senior Manager, Strategy and Partnerships Center for Inclusion and Belonging, American Immigration Council
Now, more than ever, our country is in need of ingenuity that can protect our democracy, advance values of inclusion and belonging, and expand our idea of citizenship. Across my work, whether that be organizing national stakeholders to realize full justice, or countering the effects of political polarization, or amplifying the story of immigration as a value-gain; being in community is an impact multiplier. I’ve been so impressed with the work of Civics Unplugged. They’ve shown real agility and innovation, building out a modern, 21st century civic infrastructure that sets the standard for community fellowship, civic engagement and youth-led progress. I’m proud to serve as a Civics 2030 Champion as they continue to build a movement of inspired leaders who are meeting the challenges of this moment, and the next