Generation Citizen (GC) strengthens our nation’s democracy by empowering young people to become engaged and effective citizens. We envision a democracy in which every citizen participates in the political process.
GC teaches teenagers direct political action. Through an innovative in-class curriculum, students work with local leaders to fix local problems. Through this real-world experience, our teens are building an active democracy.
Our innovative, action-based program will revolutionize civics education in this country. Generation Citizen is building a new generation of youth activists and leaders; a generation inspired and equipped to make change.
Emphasis on Process
Democracy is defined by how decisions are made – not just the decisions themselves. While GC cares deeply about the results of our work, we uphold our principles by also focusing on the way we get those results – through the democratic process and with students’ voices at the center. Our students may not successfully address every problem they tackle, but if they learn the process for doing so and can reflect upon it, they guarantee their ability to more effectively address such issues in the future.
The political process demands that individuals form relationships in order to work together to solve common problems. GC therefore stresses coalition-building, because democracy is at its strongest when participation in it is the broadest, most inclusive, and most representative. For collaboration to succeed between those of different ages, backgrounds, and perspectives, strong personal relationships are vital.
Democracies thrive when they are open to new ideas, constantly adapting to meet society’s needs. GC strongly values dissent, diverse voices, and lifelong learning. By continually soliciting and learning from others’ ideas, and by critically questioning our own, we can find fresh ways to solve entrenched problems and achieve common goals.
GC works to teach students how to make systemic change. That means addressing the root causes of problems – not just addressing their effects; it’s the difference between donating to a food pantry and addressing the problems contributing to hunger in the first place. The process is hard, complicated, and incremental – and necessary for true change.
GC truly believes that everyone in our democracy can make change and address complex societal problems. And we believe that change happens by working through, rather than disregarding, our existing institutions. That means balancing our ideals with what is possible right now – not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, while still maintaining our sense of possibility and making incremental progress towards those ideals. From our schools to our legislatures, we can make systemic change by working from within those systems, and constantly seeking to improve them.