Civic Spring Fellows Featured on MSNBC

New Youth Projects Focus on Civic Education

August 19, 2020

The Civic Spring Fellowship was featured on MSNBC in August. Citizens & Scholars president Raj Vinnakota and grantee Emanuelle Sippy were interviewed by Brian Williams and Nicole Wallace during an afternoon MSNBC Live segment. You can see the full interview in the video above.

Mr. Vinnakota outlined the need to focus on helping youth build their civic knowledge and skills during what Mr. Williams called “a real-life civics lesson:” the pandemic, calls for racial justice, and the upcoming election. Mr. Vinnakota highlighted the importance of giving youth a seat at the table to design their civic learning and help better their communities. Ms. Sippy represented the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team. Their Civic Spring Fellowship grant is funding a two-part survey of Kentucky students to better understand the impact of virtual learning on students. The Team recently presented their findings to the Kentucky Board of Education and plans to use the data they gather to make additional policy recommendations.

The Civic Spring Fellowship was developed with the collective goal of creating a program that will catalyze summer civic learning experiences, especially in light of COVID-19. Because schools and localities—the systems typically leading civic learning programs—continue to experience stress and fatigue from combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation and its partners want to tap into a group eager to help communities make productive change: youth.

After a national selection process, the Citizens & Scholars awarded grants to six youth-led initiatives across the country working creatively over the summer to engage young people building their own civic capacities while strengthening their community. Each project is facilitating hands-on learning opportunities to build the civic knowledge, dispositions, and skills young people need to flourish as effective and committed community members.

The Civic Spring Fellowship Grantees include Groundwork Elizabeth (Elizabeth, NJ); Institute for Engagement (Houston, TX); Kinston Teens (Kinston, NC); Newark Youth One Stop and Career Center (Newark, NJ); Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence (Lexington, KY); and Youthprise (Minneapolis, MN).

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