In Eagle River, Alaska, three middle schoolers are striving to make a difference in their community, and Project Citizen is here to help. In Project Citizen, a Center for Civic Education program, students identify a public policy problem in their community. They then research the problem, evaluate alternative solutions, develop their own solution in the form of a public policy, and create an action plan to enlist local or state authorities to adopt their proposed policy.
According to Kristen Swann of the Alaska Star, the middle school students at Eagle River identified the issue of substance abuse in their community, and decided their goal was to add substance abuse counselors to their local high school staff. Their research process involved talking with the director of a local drug-treatment facility to better understand the issue of substance abuse. The group also worked with the local high school resource officer to better understand the specific needs the high school needed to meet. Guest lecturers helped the students understand what goes into making successful legislation.
The project concluded on March 6, when the group presented their plan before the school board. Their solution: enroll in a grant-funded program that helps match schools with substance abuse counselors.
It remains unclear whether or not the school will choose to move forward with the proposition, but we couldn’t be more inspired by our bright Project Citizen students who are working hard to prove that everyone is capable of making a change.