In its first year DemocraSeed had the pleasure to work with three different youth councils in the state of Arizona. Through the mentorship and training of ASU Volunteers, the Entrepreneurship + Innovation team at ASU, and the Center for the Future of Arizona, these high schools students identified a civic issue in their communities and used design thinking to propose and implement a solution.
The students from the Lake Havasu Youth Council won DemocraSeed's first place prize in 2016, identifying teacher retention as a civic issue that was afflicting the students and citizens of Lake Havasu City. After reaching out to members of their community, both inside and outside of the education community, they concluded that one of the primary reasons for which teachers were leaving stemmed from a lack of connection between teachers and the greater Lake Havasu community.
After identifying and researching the issue, the high school students of the Lake Havasu Youth Council used the design thinking and entrepreneurial skills that they had been taught through DemocraSeed to put a plan into action, ultimately creating Project: We OutCare. Through this project, these high school students united teachers and Lake Havasu citizens through a community based intervention. By leveraging relationships with community members, they raised awareness of the teacher retention issue and sought out school supply donations for their teachers. Their work not only educated the community and made them stakeholders on this issue, but also showed the Lake Havasu teachers that their community cares for them and their success.
But Project: We OutCare did not end with the DemocraSeed. The Lake Havasu Youth Council continues to expand and foster their impactful civic intervention today! They recently created and launched a website that not only tells their story and educates the public on the issue of teacher retention, but is also a virtual call to action that connects teachers and the community. On their website, you can get to know new teachers through their biographies, as well as purchase school supplies for their classroom with just the click of a button.
The amazing students of the Lake Havasu Youth Council truly exemplify the type of civic engagement and action that DemocraSeed seeks to foster.
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