Based in Chicago
Mikva Challenge engages Chicago high school students in politics and civic action by providing students and their teachers with strong, hands-on, experiential civics programs. Mikva Challenge’s Action Civics programming and curricula provide opportunities for substantial youth involvement in local, state, and national politics and are paving the way for a civic education reform movement that incorporates a ‘learn civics by doing civics’ approach.
In 1998, Mikva Challenge began as a small pilot program with an all-volunteer staff running an electoral engagement project in four schools. Fifteen years later, Mikva has grown this strategy of real-life democracy education into eight robust “Action Civics” programs that serve 5,300 high school students and 130 teachers at 110 schools across the Chicago Metropolitan region. Our three main program areas – electoral participation, youth policymaking, and youth community problem solving – teach young people civic knowledge and leadership skills while transforming their attitudes about political participation. These programs focus on helping young people achieve success in schools, in their careers, and in life.
Mikva Challenge’s work is focused on helping youth take political action now in order to develop the next generation of civic leaders. As a result, all our programs aim to achieve our four core goals:
- Ignite teenagers’ passion for politics
- Increase youth civic knowledge
- Develop students’ democratic leadership skills
- Help young people become part of the solution to school, neighborhood and city problems.