Civic Spring: Arizona

Piloting the Best Civic Youth Programs

Young people play a critical role in strengthening our democracy today and for the long haul. Civic Spring Fellows are young people and members of youth-centered organizations working on projects that address a local need around issues including education, community health and wellness, economic opportunity, environmental justice, and immigration reform.

The 2023 Civic Spring Fellowship is an opportunity for young people across the state of Arizona to develop and tackle a community project between January and March 2023. By focusing on community-based projects, young people will build and further develop the civic knowledge, skills, and dispositions to positively impact their communities for the long term.

THE CHALLENGE:

81% of young people say they believe they have the power to change the country, however, too many young people lack the opportunities and resources to engage in, and lead, meaningful change.

THE FELLOWS:

In 2022, Civic Spring Fellows implemented projects around the country tackling topics such as climate change and economic development.

THE IMPACT:

Young people gain hands-on experience by engaging in important community issues while learning about local and state government, influencing systems, and coalition-building.

This project really speaks to the power of blending information and action. Making sure that we are really well informed and seeking out the knowledge that we need and then also translating that into action.

Sadie Bograd, 2020 Fellow
Sadie Bograd, 2020 Fellow

More Than Funding

Fellows build an extensive network of peers and partners to help maximize their impact. They build civic knowledge and skills while gaining on-the-ground experience in effecting change in their communities.

Civic Spring Fellows receive critical support through a unique experience-based curriculum and targeted coaching from an intergenerational team of leaders and Fellows. As the program sponsor, PayPal will fund the Fellows’ projects and select employees will also serve as Coaches. With these supports, Fellows will develop a greater sense of efficacy, strengthen their abilities to affect positive change, and share their knowledge and skills with their peers and communities.

Civic Spring Projects, January – March 2023

The Civic Spring Fellowship Arizona initiative is an opportunity for young people from across the state to lead a local project. Youth (ages 14-24) will develop the knowledge and skills to address a community priority while building networks and capacities to drive meaningful change for the long term.

Fellows will receive stipends of $1,800 to pursue a project addressing a local need related to education, community health and wellness, economic opportunity, environmental justice, and/or immigration reform. All projects, or at minimum, a complete action plan and milestone, must be completed by March 31, 2023.

Applications for the program are open to individuals; those interested in working with a partner or small team will need to apply separately but may indicate in their application that they plan to work together. Established connections with an outside group or organization are great, though not necessary.

Past Civic Spring Fellowship Projects

The 2020 projects addressed local community needs in one of two areas: responding to COVID-19 and/or building civic capacities for the 2020 election cycle. Fellows worked in communities in Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Texas.

The Civic Spring Fellowship was originally developed in 2020 by an intergenerational team of 40 subject-matter experts, funders, practitioners, and leaders. An independent evaluation of the 2020 Civic Spring Fellowship conducted by Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) confirmed both the individual and community impact of the program. Key findings included that the fellowship helped youth:

  • Find or strengthen their own voice, including their social-emotional learning capacities, abilities to navigate both civic institutions and their mental health, and strategies for working with stakeholders across lines of difference.
  • Make their city or town a better place, including advocating for policy change to city leaders, securing seats for youth on local government committees, holding voter registration events, and engaging local news media.
  • Gain knowledge and skills that would typically be part of a Civics class.
2020 Civic Spring Fellows from New Jersey, Groundwork Elizabeth.