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Youth Voice 2020

Action Civics LA, an initiative of Mikva Challenge

Non-profit organization

Youth Voice 2020 empowers and amplifies young voices to inspire and inform Angelenos to take action and vote.



What does your organization do?

Action Civics LA works with schools to empower young people with the skills, knowledge, & dispositions to be superstar citizens & leaders. ProCon provides the non-partisan research for the activities.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Every year Action Civics LA hosts a public speaking competition that calls young people to speak out on issues that affect them and their communities. These powerful speeches have lasting, transformative impacts on classrooms, schools, and communities.

Our activation is focused on amplifying these student speeches, a call-to-action, to inform and inspire Angelenos to participate in local neighborhood councils and vote in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Which of the connect metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Attendance at public/open streets gatherings
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Voting rates

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • San Fernando Valley
  • South LA
  • Westside
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Advocate for policy
  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Influence individual behavior
  • Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to connect?

Youth Voice 2020 is a joint initiative between Action Civic LA and ProCon.org. We will give Angelenos an easy way to encourage, motivate and facilitate youth activism in Los Angeles county, inspiring them to take action in their communities, participate in local government, and vote on local issues, making LA the best place to connect.

By training Los Angeles teachers and students to translate their passion into action, highlighting the civic action of youth, and connecting youth to local government, we will show Angelenos how to be active in their communities. Youth Voice 2020 will increase the percentage of young people who are registered to vote; regularly volunteer; and involved in local government. Our focus on action will also increase government responsiveness to local issues. Our ability to amplify youth voices through public events and websites will increase adult participation in local issues, voting rates, volunteerism.

Youth Voice 2020 has 3 components:

1.Youth training

Teachers work with Action Civics LA to engage their students to identify the most pressing issues in their communities and take action to address these issues. Students learn how to SPEAK OUT, ADVOCATE for change, COLLABORATE with peers and community organizations, RESEARCH issues, DEVELOP action plans to affect change, and SHOWCASE their year-long activism efforts.

Past projects include:

  • South Central HS students advocated for the rights of undocumented immigrants and DREAMers in their school and community bringing in the assistance of immigration lawyers and representatives from Congresswoman Karen Bass’ office; Hancock Park Elementary students researched homelessness rates in their neighborhood and presented their findings to Councilmember Ryu in City Hall; Boyle Heights 9th graders started a school-wide “Unplug Monday” during free periods where students detach from all electronics and focus on interpersonal connections and mental health care.
  1. Public events:
  • 2 showcase events where students will present their Action Civics projects and receive feedback from community leaders.

  • 6-8 large open community events hosted by Pro/Con where local issues are debated (proposed locations include the Santa Monica Pier, USC, and others). Student projects will be featured and event participants will be asked to take action to support them.

  1. Digital amplification and action:

We will highlight select student speeches and projects on the ProCon.org website for the 500,000 annual users from Los Angeles. We will focus on the following four areas: Water and the environment; Community and School safety; Civic Participation; and Education.

The projects will be linked to pro and con research on these issues on ProCon.org, a website use by 25 million people per year, including more than 500,000 Angelenos. Web visitors will be able to view the projects, replicate them in their own neighborhood, contact their local representatives, and share with their own social networks.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to connect

Using in-class instruction, city-wide events, teacher trainings, and school partnerships, in 2 years 7,000 students from over 20 different LA schools will be trained in identifying issues and turning them into action. Our current partner schools reach wide across LA county, from South Gate to West LA, from the San Fernando Valley to Downtown LA.

From our group of student projects, Action Civics LA teachers and partner organizations will select student projects that inspire, educate, and inform in four areas: Water and the environment; Community and School safety; Civic Participation; and Education.

These projects will be featured on procon.org. Based on existing traffic on procon.org, we estimate that over 50,000 Angelenos will visit these pages and take action to support student work whether it is reading about an issue, sending the issue pages to their neighborhood council, replicating the project in their own neighborhood, or by contacting their local representative.

Finally, over an additional 50,000 people from Los Angeles County will be exposed to issues and youth voice at six county-wide public events featuring youth voice on civic issues. After these events, participants will have greater understanding of issues, be able to connect with and support youth leaders, and be ready to take action.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

Activation is measured in the following ways:

Student participation: 7,000 students in 2 years will participate in Action Civics LA in-class programs where they develop their issues and projects. We will measure student learning throughout, measuring increases in ability to debate, do research, analyze issues, and developing strategic plans. Additionally, we plan to track alumni of the program via surveys.

Public participation though events: Through our public events across the county, we will measure event attendance and exposure to youth issues. We will also measure adoption of student calls to action.

Digital participation: Once students have developed their issues we will measure dissemination of their ideas and passion via visits to web pages and clickthroughs on various actions including contacting their neighborhood council, contacting their representatives, and downloading information to replicate the project in their own neighborhood. We estimate that 10% of the Los Angeles traffic to ProCon.org will view these student pages, representing 4,000 actions per month or 50,000 people per year.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

We hope that in 5 years, Action Civics LA will grow to working with 15,000 students annually across the city and to launch statewide training for educators. We hope to have continued our partnership with ProCon.org so that together we are a resource for educators across the country.


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