Since its first pilot program organizing an electoral engagement project across four Chicago public schools, former U.S. congressman and education activist, Abner and Zoe Mikva, have been inspiring underprivileged youth to take action and get involved in the causes that matter to them through the Mikva Challenge. Now, after over twenty years of empowering students to speak out on the issues that affect them and their communities, the Mikva Challenge delivers real-life democracy education across five “Action Civics” programs in its hometown of Chicago, as well as Southern California and Washington D.C.
In Washington D.C., the organization’s Issues to Action program has been steadily growing one of its newest initiatives to foster civic engagement, Project Soapbox. Partnering with local educators from 25 DC schools, Project Sopabox helps over 2,000 students voice their opinions through citywide public speaking tournaments. As the latest city to join the challenge, these young activists are trying to grow the program and give more students the opportunity to receive training to think critically, research, prepare and present speeches around issues they and their adult allies face across political, civic, and business communities.
Here at Digilant Cares, we too encourage the Digilant and greater ispDigital family to speak up and bring forth projects that aid the causes they and their communities believe in, which is why we’re very proud to help elevate the voices of Mikva Challenge participants through pro bono programmatic.
Over a six week direct response campaign across Washington D.C. and surrounding areas of bordering Maryland and Northern Virginia, Mikva Challenge aims to increase fundraising for its Issues to Action program. Leveraging both video and display ads across desktop and mobile, Digilant will tactfully spread Mikva’s message at the right time, place, and with the right relevancy. Reaching out to young professionals that are passionate about the causes that program participants research and speak on, Mikva Challenge hopes to create more engaged citizens.
“Because I learned about civic engagement during high school, I know how to go about dismantling processes that are inconsistent with my beliefs on justice. I can have a civil conversation with someone who has a completely different perspective and rally on the one area in which we share common ground.”
– Mikva DC alumnus, Maya Branch
In an age of misinformation and a highly polarized political climate where civil discourse isn’t always so civil, and solutions to many of the world’s problems can seem far out of reach, it’s extremely important to educate the next generation on how to effectively communicate their beliefs and take productive steps towards achieving them.
This is exactly what Mikva Challenge D.C. is striving towards and as programmatic marketers we love to dive into the data and see that they have actionable metrics from last year’s program that prove it:
- 87% of students believe they can make an impact in solving community problems (vs. 48% of students at start of year).
- 85% of students believe they can express their viewpoints in front of a group (vs. 50% of students at start of year).
- 91% of students know how to collaborate with an adult decision-maker to address their issue (vs. 56% of students at start of year).
- Learn more about the measurable change and incredible lift on civic engagement Mikva Challenge has made across the country here
To donate, or to learn about other initiatives lead by the Mikva Challenge students, visit their site here.
Live in the Chicagoland, D.C., or Los Angeles Area and want to donate some time to help develop your city’s next generation of community activists? From volunteering, becoming a Mikva Teacher or a youth leader, or just spreading the word, you’re just a click away from taking action!