Civic Life Project will train ten high school teachers in CT cities (Stamford, Waterbury, New Haven & Hartford) how to mentor students in the story-telling process of creating a documentary. Students research, choose, and analyze a public issue that is relevant to their lives and communities. By producing short films & leading discussions at screenings, students learn critical transferable skills while finding their voice and agency within their communities.
Studies consistently report the majority of 12th graders do not perform at a proficient level in civics education. This problem is exacerbated by the growing gap between students' access to civic learning and engagement practices based on socioeconomic status. Without civic opportunities, youth feel less engaged in school and community. State and Federal governments continue to make cuts in this area and the United States ranks 139th in voter participation out of the world's 172 democracies.
We use media literacy to teach essential intellectual civic skills. Students develop purpose, sense of belonging, problem-solving and leadership skills. Our online seminars, downloadable content and continual support provide teachers the professional development training necessary to involve young people in public issues using film making. On average, one teacher has the ability to reach 100 students. We can reach 1,000 students for only $9.50 per student!
Media programs positively affect participant's self-image and likelihood to consume news and vote. Using digital tools students like, they will build the skills of examination and self-expression necessary for citizenry. Our students report increased ability to advocate for oneself and engagement in local community. Public screenings provide them a platform to present and lead conversations with change-makers, which often becomes the starting point for community initiatives!