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This is a call for short proposals from young people (ages 14 to 24) interested in creating a blog post, video, or presentation for the CIRCLE website. Content should focus on how communities can increase, diversify, and sustain youth civic and political engagement. We have extended the deadline and proposals are now due by June 1, 2020.

Not familiar with CIRCLE? We're the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, a research center based at Tufts University in Boston. CIRCLE studies and tries to expand opportunities for young people to meaningfully participate in civic life in the United States.

We define “civic engagement” as the wide range of actions and behaviors that improve communities and help solve problems that affect more than one person or household. We think of political engagement as a form of civic engagement, related to voting, elections, law-making, and government in particular. Read more about our thinking here.

Too often, adultism, project timelines, and other factors prevent authentic youth input into groups’ and communities’ efforts. But young people have invaluable knowledge—and often more expertise than older adults—on certain issues in their community. In 2018, we saw young leaders across the country (especially young women and youth women of color) transform a midterm election cycle into a year of youth voice and action before and after Election Day. This is powerful. We strongly believe that young peoples’ perspectives and involvement are vital to building a stronger democracy. As an organization, we hold a value that young people should be treated as assets to communities, and a belief that youth and communities will benefit in many ways from doing so. While this is not the first time that CIRCLE has featured young voices, we seek to practice what we preach to a greater extent.

Guest Post Initiative

We see this initiative as a way to amplify the voices of our younger peers in the civic engagement world, to increase knowledge across the field, and to promote new connections and conversations among people involved with research, policy, and practice. 

Proposals may be submitted by individuals or may be collaborations between multiple young people or youth (ages 14-24) and older adults. Regardless, content must be driven by young people. Proposals should be a short description of what ideas a full (written or multimedia) blog post would cover. The proposal can take different forms: text, slides, video, etc. The proposal should be no longer than a half page of text (around 200-250 words), a single graphic, 5-6 slides, or a video that is less than 2 minutes long. 

Proposals may address one or more of the questions below, or others of your choosing: 

  • What affects youth civic and political engagement in your community? How can these conditions be addressed to increase youth participation? What helps young people overcome obstacles to being involved? What is effective in mobilizing young leaders?
  • What kind of expertise do young people in your community have? How can organizations and advocates tap into that knowledge to better serve and improve the community? 
  • How can we establish or improve partnerships between young leaders and non-youth-specific organizations (like election offices or news outlets)?
  • Involving young people in civic life before they reach voting age helps prepare them for election participation. We call this “Growing Voters”. How can communities do this more?
  • What impact do news and media depictions of youth civic engagement and young people’s political views have on you and your peers? How can these portrayals improve? 
  • What encourages or discourages you or your peers from creating media (videos, images, GIFs, etc.) about politics or issues you care about yourselves? What do you learn from the experience of creating media or content yourself? What kind of impact do you think or hope this has? 

CIRCLE staff and Summer Fellows will assess proposals based on how well a proposal addresses some or all the following criteria:

  • Reflection on what has/has not worked and why
  • Strength of argument, including personal observations and examples (we are NOT looking for program/model profiles)
  • Potential for influence on future policy and practice 
  • Representation from different parts of the country and from young people representing diverse communities and identities
  • Impact on increasing equity in the civic and political opportunities available to youth across diverse backgrounds

Selected submitters will be asked for a full post/product (500-800 words if written and no more than 5 minutes if a video). Our staff will review and provide feedback, if applicable.

To submit, find the link at the top right of this page. Reach out to abby.kiesa@tufts.edu if you have questions.