“One day I decided to help wherever I could & it was almost like magic because I was exactly what the world needed everywhere I went.” From “Help Wanted” by Brian Andreas, writer & artist of Story People
Our American Voice ® is a model civics leadership program for elementary and middle school students of diverse backgrounds designed to teach civics and civic engagement through a project-based learning initiative that develops leadership problem solving and critical thinking skills.
A SNAPSHOT OF OAV SCHOOL & COMMUNITY PROJECTS
BACK OF THE YARDS COLLEGE PREPARATORY
Students organized a Juvenile Justice Symposium to acknowledge and discuss community issues and inspire students to become active citizens.
CHICAGO HOME SCHOOL
Students worked to improve pedestrian safety by advocating for signs and improved crosswalk markings and by petitioning for a residential street stop sign on a walking route to a nearby school.
Students worked with community agencies and parents to create a Week of Service for the school. The goal is for this to become an annual event at Emerson.
FREEDOM MIDDLE SCHOOL
Students worked with school administrators to improve the quality of the school lunch program, which resulted in a reduction of waste.
HERITAGE MIDDEL SCHOOL
Students sponsored a Voter Registration Campaign.
HESTER JR. HIGH SCHOOL
OAV team met with school officials and researched filter products to secure the best quality drinking water at their school by installing water filters on the drinking fountains. They began fundraising to complete installation next school year.
Students created a Community Kindness Culture Program to recognize students being kind to one another during school. Acts of kindness were recognized and celebrated in the school community. Funds were raised to purchase and decorate four “Buddy Benches” for the school playground.
Students worked on ensuring playground games allowed for gender equality without stereotyping to create an environment where all could actively play at recess.
Students worked tirelessly to raise the funds necessary to put in accommodations for students with special needs in the school playground.
ARTHUR A. LIBBY ELEMENTARY
Students polled students and held an assembly for the school about lactose intolerance, proposing to have beverage alternatives such as water or juice offered at lunch.
Students created an outdoor reading garden and peaceful area on school grounds, also available to the community.
Students initiated and ran a Fair School Funding Campaign which included securing letters from the community that were delivered to the School Board who presented them to Representatives in Springfield.
PROVIDENCE ENGELWOOD CHARTER
Students worked with school administration to create a mentor/tutoring program to launch next school year. Students will write and deliver both academic and social-emotional lessons.
IDA B. WELLS ELEMENTARY
Students worked together to help kids in area homeless shelters by organizing a jeans drive and preparing care packages.
“OAV is a necessary part of our school and my students learned a lot from the lessons and taking part in a project in which they had to deal with the community. Also, they learned to deal with many different types of people and that if something doesn’t work, that doesn’t mean you give up,” says 5th grade teacher at Pershing School, Lisa Beth Lovero.
Civic education has been lacking for more than 3 decades and this deficit now requires more emphasis on professional development of the teachers leading a civic engagement. The annual Context for Civic Education and Engagement Workshop challenges OAV teachers to examine their own civic values, attitudes and beliefs. It allows teachers to better understand barriers to civic literacy & engagement
Learn more about this program at the Our American Voice website.