Civic Betterment

“Democracies must insure that each new generation of citizens identify with the common good and become engaged members of their communities. First, public spaces must be inclusive of youth. Second, the values with which we raise our youth are the foundation for their political views and for the society they will create. To the extent that values focus on enhancing the self rather than connecting personal interests to the public interest, young people will be less aware that the exercise of rights implies obligations to the community. In such a situation social trust, the glue of Civil Society, will be undermined. Finally, to promote democracy youth need to know the full story, not just the ‘good parts’ of history. If they appreciate that history and politics are controversial, they may see the importance of taking a stand and of adding their voice to the debate.”

—Youth Civic Development: Implications of Research for Social Policy and Programs, Constance A. Flanagan and Nakesha Faison, Penn State University 2001,