PUTTING YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT OF CIVIC CHANGE

 
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THE PROBLEM

So many of the problems we face are systemic in nature -- rising health care costs, mass incarceration, and educational inequity for example -- yet we're not preparing our young people to understand or address these systems-level issues. Two of the major forces contributing to this problem are:

  1. Civics education in the U.S. isn't a priority and hasn’t been for the last sixty years, hindering our democracy. Today, less than a quarter of eighth graders in the U.S. are proficient in civics and over 80% of Americans cannot name their two U.S. senators. Access to high quality civics is inequitable, as well. White, wealthy students are four-to-six times more likely to be proficient in civics than students of color from low-income families.

  2. On the whole, students are not building strong relationships across lines of race, income and political beliefs. In Colorado, schools are as segregated as they were 50 years ago and neighborhoods continue to polarize politically.

 

THE MISSION

The Colorado Youth Congress organizes diverse communities of young people to bring about the evolution of our democracy by leading equitable, systems-level change.

 

THE VISION

We envision a world where all people have an equal say in the direction of the future, with young people working across lines of difference in order to bring about a fair and inclusive society.

 

THE PROGRAM

We recruit students from urban, suburban and rural communities across Colorado to build relationships, set a public agenda, and form campaign teams to work towards that vision. 

At the core of our model are youth-led civic change campaigns. Each team gets $500, a coach, our curriculum, and access to our network of systems leaders. Students are in the drivers seat of this work, making all major decisions around goals, strategies, and how to use their budget. Campaigns operate at two levels:

  • Regional: students come from across the Metro Denver area for 12 Saturdays throughout the year. CYC hires and develops coaches to help the students with their campaign. In the 2018-19 school year, we have 85 students in our program, representing 21 high schools and 8 different school districts.

  • School-based: students work within a school setting, leading a campaign with their classmates and the help of a teacher as coach. In the 2018-19 school year, we’re partnering with four schools throughout urban, suburban and rural Colorado.

 

OUR MODEL

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“We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.”

-Lee Iocacca

 
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BECOME A COACH

Our student leaders need great people to advise them. We'd love to have you on the team.

BECOME A SPONSOR

Our business and non-profit sponsors signal their support for youth and their engagement in the world.  

BECOME A MEMBER

Are you a HS student and interested in joining the Colorado Youth Congress?

DONATE

Your support helps us prepare students as they work together to solve the most pressing problems of our time.

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