k-12 & youth

Peace Games in NYC Seeks Executive Director    

PeaceGamesLogoI just heard word that Koya Consulting LLC is leading an Executive Director search for Peace Games in New York, NY. Peace Games is an innovative school-based violence prevention/social-emotional learning program that teaches students in grades K through 8 to be peacemakers.  The unique Peace Games approach engages whole school communities – families, teachers, volunteers, and students – to teach lessons of cooperation, communication and conflict resolution using games and community service projects.

Peace Games seeks an Executive Director with a blend of experience and entrepreneurial spirit to lead their program in their New York office. The position builds from a strong base of existing assets, including a solid plan, a growing group of excited supporters, a strong track record of results with local schools, an experienced program director to manage day-to-day operations in the schools, and strong fundraising and program expertise. The ideal candidate will have strong fundraising and operational management skills, deep cultural competency, and a passion for the Peace Games mission and goals. See the complete position description. (more…)

Janette Hartz-Karp looking for info on youth engagement in climate change    

NCDD member Janette Hartz-Karp asked me to share this with the network…

I’ve been asked to write a chapter for the UN World Youth Report 2009 on youth engagement with climate change. It needs to be completed in a month so I’m trying to get any help I can.

The chapter is to include a) Positioning youth for adaptation and mitigation – the role of civil society (identifying best practices in youth participation in activities to address climate change, and examining the potential contribution of youth-led organizations to advancing action on climate change). And b) Moving Forward – placing youth at the centre of the response to climate change (A policy section which will highlight the key messages and address the question: – “Who does what?”)

In addition, I was asked to add any specific ideas/information relating to policies on youth and climate change, particularly in the context of developing countries.

Susanna Haas Lyons from AmericaSpeaks has pointed out some US web sites:

  • www.focusthenation.org
  • www.powershift09.org/
  • http://ktchyouthnetwork.wordpress.com/
  • www.350.org/

If you have any additional information on ‘best practice’ youth engagement initiatives on climate change and/or policies you know about/suggest, particularly in developing countries, but also world-wide, please let me know ASAP.

Janette Hartz-Karp
Professor at Australia’s Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute and Director of 21st Century Dialogue

[email protected]

Millennials Rethink U.S. Constitution and Compete in Mobilize.org Convention    

We asked NCDD member Alexander Moll to share his reflections on the recent (January 9-11, 2008) Constitutional Convention that our friends at Mobilize.org held for young activists in Philadelphia…

We sought to upgrade our democracy. Like well-trodden explorers looking for adventure, we came to Philadelphia last weekend to answer the beckoning call from our Founding Fathers rolling in their graves. “The town hall is dead,” was a whisper from the annals of history we could not shake as we set foot upon the soil of the National Constitution Center.

Joined by some of my collaborators, we networked with others of our Millennial generation interested in continuing the conversation about how we can establish a new vision of American Democracy. Were we being revolutionary, reformist, or just flippantly remiss? Time would tell. Collectively, we all engaged in a conversation, but not exactly in a way we here at NCDD are accustomed to seeing. Instead of the focus being squarely on public dialogue and deliberation as a means of civic engagement, a competition was the means of engaging each other to re-think our vision of what it means to upgrade our democracy.

For two days, everyone listened to a few guest speakers who inspired us to reconsider the “self” in “self-government.” Last Friday, Dr. Beeman’s lecture spoke to me in such as way as to remind me that to secure our rights—consistently—requires an active and informed participation in our government. In fact, is not the word ‘government’ misleading? Should we not characterize this aspect of our culture as ‘governance,’ something we all have a responsibility to share? Dr. Beeman’s recount of the summer of 1787, whereby the 55 Framers helped forge a Constitution, revealed an unusual amount of cooperation, forbearance, and consensus. These qualities of leadership would be essential to the collaborative process of making a shared document that would reflect a youthful “We The People.” Perhaps, if democracy is an unfinished project, then can the Summer of 1787 shed light on what we can find that still remains to be finished? Is the Constitution a perfect document, even today? What are the lessons of 1787? Four months of intense debates and deliberations to create the Constitution…what if we tried that at the National Constitution Center or in a local café on my neighborhood block? These questions remained with me deep into the night. (more…)

Millennials are Invited to a Constitutional Convention Next Month    

Mobilize.org logoWe Want YOU to Upgrade OUR Democracy!

Join Mobilize.org, along with Declare Yourself, the National Constitution Center, Change.org, the National Conference on Citizenship, and Why Tuesday?,” for CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION: BUILDING DEMOCRACY 2.0, January 9-11, 2009 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

This event gives Millennials around the country the opportunity to network with other Millennials, engage in discussions about the election and American democracy with other Millennials, as well as renowned experts in the fields of history, politics, constitutional law, and political management.

Constitutional Convention: Building Democracy 2.0 gives YOU the opportunity to sustain the election momentum YOU created in the 2008 election to ensure that the civic and political dialogue around major issues affecting YOU continues and results in action that causes systemic and lasting positive change.

Get the opportunity to use interactive keypad voting technology and other technology-savvy methods to engage in interactive dialogue about the election, Democracy 2.0, and building your influence.

Compete for funding over the three-day summit, and receive up to $10,000 in grants.

Visit the Convention website at www.democracyupgrade.com for more details, or download the Participant Packet at http://tiny.cc/0ydwC. For further information, contact the Summit Team at [email protected].

Keep Mobilizin’ –

Maya and the Mobilize.org Team – Ian, Christina, Ana, Nick, Chris, Kenneth and Gloria

Engaging Youth in Community Change    

Yesterday’s e-newsletter from the Annie E. Casey Foundation mentioned a publication some of you may be interested in called “Engaging Youth in Community Change.”  Here’s what they had to say about it:

“Youth programs and organizations have developed a variety of approaches for including young people in decision-making processes that affect them, their peers, and their communities. Despite these efforts, little is known about these approaches. The Annie E. Casey Foundation funded the Finance Project to produce a report on the state of knowledge on financing and sustaining youth engagement programs.”

More on Mobilize.org’s Democracy 2.0 Entrepreneur Grant Summit    


from the latest Mobilize.org press release on the event…

Mobilize.org has announced the application launch for its Democracy 2.0 Entrepreneur Grant Summit, Money in Politics, to be held July 18-21, 2008, in Denver, Colorado. In partnership with The Sunlight Foundation and Common Cause, Mobilize.org is seeking innovative projects focused towards clean election practices at the local, state, and national level.

Mobilize.org is focusing efforts on empowering members of the Millennial Generation to develop innovative clean elections practices, emphasizing the creation of public finance reforms at the local and state level. These types of reforms are intended to give voters more control over the government by making politicians accountable to voters rather than wealthy campaign contributors. Their Money in Politics Grant Summit presents members of the Millennial Generation with the opportunity to identify a need for clean elections practices, and through the use of interactive key pad voting technology and peer to peer dialogue, develop an idea or solution that would address that need, and present a proposal for funding at the summit in Denver in July 2008.

Their grant summit winners will each receive a grant, between $3,000 and $5,000 and more importantly, will receive the support of Mobilize.org and its extensive partner network to champion their proposal and create systemic and long lasting change in the way elections are run.

Please see the Democracy 2.0 Issues Brief “Money in Politics” and the Grant Summit Rules and Application form (deadline is June 15th) for more information (both pdf files).

You’ll find all relevant information related to the Summit on the Mobilize.org website.

Mobilize.org Reaches Out to Millennial Generation Entrepreneurs    


from a recent Mobilize.org press release…

National youth civic engagement organization Mobilize.org released the first report in its series of Democracy 2.0 Entrepreneur Issue Briefs, Money in Politics. The organization, dedicated to Millennial-generated ideas and projects to tackle critical national issues, has adopted a unique strategy to getting Millennial plans into action: give them the information and the financial support necessary to make their ideas a reality.

Mobilize.org is focusing its efforts on empowering members of the Millennial Generation to develop innovative clean election practices, emphasizing the exploration of public finance reforms at the local and state level. While clean election reform benefits our democracy and society as a whole, the Millennial Generation in particular stands to gain considerably from such reform. By changing the system, not only does society have a better ability to reengage young people in politics, but also stands to find solutions to many issues affecting the Millennial Generation that are being inhibited by the current system.

The brief serves as a precursor to the Democracy 2.0 Entrepreneur Money in Politics Grant Summit, which will take place July 18-21, 2008, in Denver, Colorado, focusing upon the impact of special interest-funded campaigns on citizen-centered democracy. Emphasizing the problem at the national level, Mobilize.org, Sunlight Foundation, and Common Cause will challenge Millennials from across the nation to compete for grant monies to support projects working to promote clean elections practices. The call for projects will address campaign finance reform, focusing particular on clean election practices like the public financing of elections, targeting the eighteen states that Common Cause is currently working on public financing within.

Ellen Miller, Executive Director and co-founder of the Sunlight Foundation, commented on the change potential of the Democracy 2.0 Entrepreneur Initiative:

“Mobilize.org is involved with the most Internet-savvy, network generation of our time. We cannot wait to learn how these young entrepreneurs use the new technologies, the trillions of bytes of information about lobbying, political contributions, and the spending of our tax dollars, and social networks to confront the power of big money in our democracy.”

Application materials for the Money in Politics Summit were also released today and are available on the Mobilize.org website.

For questions or to request copies of the issue brief, please contact Christina Gagnier, Mobilize.org’s Senior Vice President of Policy & Strategic Communications, via phone at (510) 717-3022 or via email at [email protected].

Shades of Youth, A Documentary about Youth and Racism    

NCDD member, Lauren Parker Kucera, director of the Soquel, CA based coAction Connection (antracism.com) recently sent us an announcement about their soon to be released film, Shades of Youth.

From their press release: “This remarkable film captures the wisdom of youth as they address issues of race and discrimination. Shades of Youth was filmed at The White Privilege Conference Youth Institute where 100 high school students gathered from across the United States to seriously engage in issues of race, power, identity, oppression and social change. The film offers multiple views and experiences around race and privilege, giving youth and adults entry points to discuss and better understand how institutional racism affects all of our lives. Ideal for use in high school classrooms, teacher education, community and faith-based youth groups.”

NCDD 2008 Note: Lauren will be co-presenting a pre-conference workshop on white privilege with Catherine Orland at the NCDD conference in Austin this October.

Arsalyn 2008 Looking for Participants    


Last summer, NCDD had the pleasure of working with Arsalyn (arsalyn.org) to help with their national youth conference in DC. Its already time for 2008 participants to apply for this summers event! So if you know or are a student between the ages of 16-20, you might want to consider this all expenses paid event. From their press release…

Looking at our past two Presidential elections we seem to be witnessing what could be described as a “deepening” of the “partisan divide.” Public discourse seems to consist less and less of communication between political camps or deliberation, i.e., reasoning together about political issues. Instead we find the various camps busy constructing their own communication networks, increasingly isolated from the pressures of a common “marketplace of ideas.” It seems that the camps are more interested in “mobilizing existing constituencies” than in responding to the “cool and deliberate sense of the community.”

Each year the Arsalyn Program sponsors a national conference devoted to “Bridging the Partisan Divide.” The conference is designed to serve as a respectful, neutral forum where diverse individuals promoting youth civic and political engagement can meet as colleagues. The goal of the conference is to bring young people together so they can discuss how people with differing opinions can deliberate to solve common problems through the political process. The conference also provides great opportunities for networking.

Arsalyn’s national conferences are open to individuals that identify with Arsalyn’s mission and are working to promote youth civic and political engagement. Arsalyn provides funding for participants’ travel, lodging, food, and conference materials. To optimize interaction between participants attendance is usually limited to 150 people.

This year’s national conference will take place in Washington, DC at the 4-H National Conference Center the 24th through 28th of July. The application period for this year’s conference begins on March 15th and continues until April 30th. For more information visit our website.

Int’l Conference on Youth and Politics in Belgium this July    

The University of Leuven organizes an international conference on Youth and Politics, in Bruges (Belgium), 3-4 July 2008. Various sessions focus on (the effects of) civic education. Key note speakers include Constance Flanagan, Matt Henn, Murray Print, Brian Loader, Kristin Goss, Jennifer Fitzgerald, Carmen Sirianna and James Sloam.

All information can be found on the website: www.kuleuven.be/citizenship or by emailing [email protected].

Can A Mural Change A School?    

Twinfield School MuralDuring the weekend of April 11-13, more than a dozen Twinfield staff, parents and students helped to sort, record, and mount the more than 450 “Peace Tiles” that would compose a new mural in the school’s cafeteria. The Peace Tiles – individual collages on 8-inch square wood panel – each responded to the question, “What is my place?” This question, asked in a series of discussion forums, was intended to deepen thinking about three aspects of place: the people, institutions, and geographies that shape our experience of place.

Students then used the mental imagery, words, and ideas that they developed in response to the question and their discussions to create their tile. When combined with others into a mural, they produced a single image representing the Central Vermont landscape where they live – a theme selected by the 2008 graduating class.

While the mural represents one of a few large works in the school, there is some concern that students will find the mural a ready target for vandalism. I am not so certain, for two reasons. First is that each student has a piece in the mural: everyone contributed to it, and as a result I would expect that it feels more “owned” by the entire student body. The second reason is that the mural should have some longevity: every student, from pre-K up to the graduating class, contributed to the mural – which means it could be up to 12 years before that bit of school history graduates. In my mind, that’s a pretty lengthy bit of time for a story to circulate. Both aspects of the mural I hope will garner students’ delight and respect for many years to come. (more…)

Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth    

from www.mitpressjournals.org…

Civic Life Online: Learning How Digital Media Can Engage Youth(pdf file), Pages 97-118
Using Participatory Media and Public Voice to Encourage Civic Engagement, Howard Rheingold, Stanford University, Communication Department

Teaching young people how to use digital media to convey their public voices could connect youthful interest in identity exploration and social interaction with direct experiences of civic engagement. Learning to use blogs (“web logs,” web pages that are regularly updated with links and opinion), wikis (web pages that non-programmers can edit easily), podcasts (digital radio productions distributed through the Internet), and digital video as media of self-expression, with an emphasis on “public voice,” should be considered a pillar—not just a component—of twenty-first-century civic curriculum. Participatory media that enable young people to create as well as consume media are popular among high school and college students. Introducing the use of these media in the context of the public sphere is an appropriate intervention for educators because the rhetoric of democratic participation is not necessarily learnable by self-guided point-and-click experimentation. The participatory characteristics of online digital media are described, examples briefly cited, the connection between individual expression and public opinion discussed, and specific exercises for developing a public voice through blogs, wikis, and podcasts are suggested. A companion wiki provides an open-ended collection of resources for educators: www.socialtext.net/medialiteracy.

SFCG and the Generation Grands Lacs (GGL)    

The following is a wonderful story about one of the Search for Common Ground’s programs in Africa. The photo is of Laurent Kissindi, Congolese journalist and project coordinator, during radio broadcast. We took this story verbatim from the SFGC Newsletter…

SFCG Gets Youth Talking Across the Frontlines of the Conflict In the Great Lakes Region in Africa

While the bullets are flying in eastern DR Congo, and the region’s diplomats struggle to reach an agreement on the peace accords, youth from the Great lakes region are talking together via radio about conflict, about peace, and about building a new generation.

Great Lakes Generation (Generation Grands Lacs (GGL) in French) is a weekly radio program that is broadcast through an innovative use of internet, telephone and FM technology. This 60-minute live phone-in talk show for youth is simulcast on five radio stations in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo every Saturday afternoon, providing young people an unprecedented opportunity to talk, listen, and learn about the issues and challenges facing their region.

Each week GGL addresses a different theme such as identity, manipulation by leaders, gender, violence, youth participation in political life, issues of ethnicity and nationality, etc. Last week’s broadcast explored the subject of prejudice; how prejudice and stereotypes effect attitudes and behaviors. A recent program dealt with the difficult things “we don’t talk about,” cultural taboos and things that are uncomfortable to discuss in public.

More after the break. (more…)

Kettering Guide on Education to be Used by PTA    

From the latest issue of Kettering News and Notes:

When the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) hosts its National Council of States meeting later this month in Alexandria, Virginia, PTA leaders from 50 states and 3 jurisdictions will address the achievement gap. They will use the Kettering Foundation issue guide Too Many Children Left Behind: How Can We Close the Achievement Gap? to generate dialogue on the gap in academic performance between minority and nonminority students on standardized tests. PTA leadership is encouraging greater focus on issues that directly affect outcomes for children and families who live in urban school districts. In turn, the PTA hopes to increase its membership in those districts. A further goal is that the forum experience on the achievement gap will be taken back to the communities to continue the discussion. Veteran NIF moderators Patty Dineen, Michelle Scott, and Robert Walker will facilitate the day-long deliberations.

Mobilize.org Spring 2008 Internships    

Mobilize.org, an all-partisan network dedicated to educating, empowering, and energizing young people to increase civic engagement and political participation, has a handful of excellent intern opportunities available in both the Washington, D.C. and Berkeley, CA.

Mobilize.org works to show young people how public policy impacts our lives, and conversely the profound impact we can have on public policy. Their programs and projects are reflective of that belief. For more information on Mobilize.org, and their programs, please visit www.mobilize.org. Internships at Mobilize.org are hands on, high level opportunities to get involved in a fast-paced, youth-led, non-profit that works hard to ensure that the voices of the millennial generation are heard. Securing a Mobilize.org internship is generally a competitive process so they encourage you to get your application in early and contact the Mobilize.org staff if you have any questions or need additional information. For more information on internships available through Mobilize.org please contact Maya Enista, Chief Operating Officer, at [email protected].

Read all about the available internships after the break. (more…)

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