DXO @ #CivicSummer at 1871



#CivicSummer is an experimental summer jobs program for teens focused on civics, media, and technology. We work with hundreds of Chicago teens  to use the latest digital tools to organize themselves, amplify their voice, and take positive civic action.

This summer our work centers in large part around the “Youth Change-Maker Initiative”, where 140 youth leaders will explore digital tools and activism strategies to:

  • increase awareness and understanding of critical issues,
  • develop digital and media creation skills,
  • build youth-inspired policy solutions, and
  • develop advocacy campaigns to seek resolution and change

At the completion of the Initiative, youth will have constructed successful advocacy campaigns using digital skills and tools. The digital activism products, like www.expunge.io and www.BeYouBeHealthy.org, will be developed and widely available for interested organizations around the city and country. Additionally, the Initiative will develop replicable roadmaps for other organizations seeking to build digital activism skills and campaigns with their youth.  The collaborative model developed by the project partners can be replicated by any group of organizations whose missions complement each other and who strive to empower youth to address social issues using technology.

We need you!

The second part of our work this year is up to ten 2-hour sessions on open data, digital tools, and web technology to any Chicago City of Learning program. Complete this form, tell us when and where to show up, and we will be there.


This year the program is largely funded by Hive Chicago through support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. We work with three other Chicago organizations:

  • Mikva Challenge, which develops the next generation of civic leaders, activists, and policy-makers
  • Free Spirit Media, which provides education, access, and opportunity in media production through their “Real Chi Youth” program
  • Adler Planetarium, which has a mission to create experiences enabling youth participants to more effectively engage in science and technology communities. Work under this grant falls under their “Youth Civic Innovations and Hacking Initiative”, which is run by their Adler Planetarium’s Youth Leadership Council
  • You! Complete this contact form in order to be one of the ten additional partners for Smart Chicago this summer

The Chicago Community Trust provides significant support for the program as well.

#CivicSummer Session with Mikva Challenge Aldermanic Fellows

2013 #CivicSummer Session with Mikva Challenge Aldermanic Fellows at The Chicago Community Trust


#CivicSummer 2014 Badge

#CivicSummer 2014 Badge

You can follow our work on @smartchicago@fsmtweets, and @MikvaChallenge @adlerhacks tweeting about  tweeting about #civicsummer, #realchiyouth, #mikvasquadwegohard #Adlerteens & all things civic, media, and technology in Chicago. See tweets from @MCEdCouncil@MCJJustice@healthsavants as well.

Here’s the Smart Chicago Collaborative logo in eps format, the #CivicSummer logo in psd format and the #CivicSummer logo in png format. Here’s the #CivicSummer badge that we used in the context of the Chicago Summer of Learning.

We publish lots of photos coming out of our program, and they are all free to use with attribution under a Creative Commons license. Here’s a few hundred photos.

Remember– if you want us to come to your program, complete this online form.

Questions? Call Daniel X. O’Neil, (773) 960-6045.

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