Board of Regents, NSHE, obo University of Nevada, Reno

Contact Information

1664 N Virginia St
Sponsored Projects Ms 325
Reno, NV 89557 - 0001
(775) 784-6542
FY 2017 National Service and Civic Engagement Research

Executive Summary

This multimethod research project proposes to address CNCS's second priority area: How does an individual's civic engagement change over the course of a lifetime? This research project will evaluate the effects of an applied democratic engagement program on the political efficacy, civic knowledge and future political engagement of low-income, youth of color. Specifically, this research project aims to investigate the outcomes of a model of democratic engagement based in principles derived from the Civic Volunteerism Model (Verba, et. al, 1995). This model holds that people become engaged in democratic and political processes when they have the resources (time, civic knowledge and civic skills), psychological engagement (interest, political efficacy, civic values and commitment to specific policies) and are recruited to participate. The Civic Literacy Program, which is founded in the aforementioned model, engages disconnected and disadvantaged youth with policy making through applied advocacy efforts at the local, state and federal level. The Civic Literacy Program is a collaborative program facilitated by the University of Nevada, Reno School of Social Work and two local nonprofit organizations, e.g. Communities in Schools and Upward Bound. The Program begins with an exploration of privilege and structural oppression as a means to connect personal experiences to larger social inequities. The program then follows a four-step model: 1) problem and solution identification; 2) instruction of the functioning of the specific level and branch of government relevant to the problem and solution previously identified; 3) identification of a strategy to promote the identified solution among relevant policy makers; and 4) implementation of strategy. The proposed research project will investigate the outcomes of this program with multiple cohorts of youth participants.

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