Program Updates

Our American Voice launches & expands in 2016-2017


Students Poised to Make an Impact

The Our American Voice civic engagement will expand its reach throughout the state of Illinois.

This year through a continuing grant from the Robert R McCormick Foundation, Barat is working with Golden Apple Foundation to expand the OAV program to 15 schools across Illinois.  The program is entering its 3rd year in South Berwyn District 100. Joining South Berwyn are schools from are the Illinois communities of Arcola, Danville, Dekalb, Downers Grove, Franklin Park, Mattoon, New Lenox, Rock Island, Springfield, Wasdworth, Waukegan and Wilmington.

The Our American Voice program is a two-part program that builds the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are essential to the functioning of a democratic society. The program connects students and their communities through civic engagement. Last year students worked in their school communities to improve safety, increase awareness of nutrition among students, increase student tolerance, and led a community wide effort to address equity in school funding.

Facilitators are excited to return to the program as they have commented on how it impacts their students, “This program makes kids think deeper and reflect in ways they never thought possible. They are made to work together as a team, not just with their friends and understand how the world around them works.” This will be the first year high school students be required to take a course in civics. The OAV program allows schools to introduce students to active citizenship at an earlier age to reinforce their understanding of active citizenship.

The Our American Voice professional discussions began on September 10th when facilitators gather in Chicago, Illinois to meet with Ed Crego, Author and Dr. Alan Gitelson, Political Scientist from Loyola University to discuss the teacher’s role in civic engagement.

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