The Critical Need:
Students in DC face a wide variety of social and health threats, including a 30.4% child poverty rate. While the academic and social benefits of service-learning for young people are well-known, youth often lack opportunities to participate in meaningful service. In 2013, the volunteer rate actually declined to the lowest rate on record, with only 21.8% of teenagers engaging in volunteer work.
Kid Power’s Citizenship Project, is a multi-faceted approach to civics education, in which students connect a literacy-building and civic engagement curriculum to community action projects in a mentor framework.
Youth work with high school and college mentors to complete their Citizenship Workbook, which includes reading comprehension, vocabulary-building, critical thinking, creative writing, and art activities focused on US history and the building blocks of citizenship. These concepts are reinforced through hands-on activities such as electing representatives to a Kid Power government, debating constitutional issues, and delivering original "I have a dream" speeches. Finally, students connect these lessons to youth-led service-learning and advocacy projects to improve their neighborhoods and the greater community.
In the 2014-2015 School Year:
- Students made a 22 point improvement in their civic assessment (48% to 70%) making gains in understanding of the democratic process.
- 100% of parents responded that they have noticed gains in their child’s understanding of importance of helping community.
- Students made significant increases in their knowledge of how to design a service project (66% to 78%), belief that they have the ability to make changes to their community or school (77% to 85%), frequency of staying away from fighting (75% to 82%), and ability to make good decisions and set goals (88% to 98%).