This blog will highlight Baylor students participating in 8-10 week summer internships with established non-profit organizations and civic groups. Students are chosen for their commitment to create systemic social change and for their ability to connect their placement to their discipline of study. These are the future movers and shakers of the non profit and for profit world. Join the dialogue.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paul Baumgardner – June 27, 2011

This past week, I learned more about the primary civic engagement program that the Constitutional Rights Foundation provides to underperforming schools across America: Civic Action Projects (CAPs). The idea is to train teachers from at-risk school districts how to use a semester long lesson plan to jumpstart students' knowledge of American government. Teachers then encourage students to go out into their communities and make a difference. This past year, several thousand students performed civic action projects in their communities, which included policy ideas that spread across a broad gamut (sex education revisions in the school, better environmental protection laws in the city, and campaigns to change state laws on euthanasia).

The CRF hosted an end-of-the-year reflection and celebration at the Los Angeles City Hall, and I helped conduct student and teacher evaluation reviews afterward (this amounted to me plowing through hundreds of CAP reviews and assessing response patterns). I am using that data right now to offer suggestions for program expansion and procedural revision in an effort to make CAP more successful next year. Additionally, I am making a video that broadcasts the forms of youth empowerment engendered by civic action in the community. 

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