Civic Innovation Summer is an experimental summer jobs program for teens focused on civics, media, and technology. The program, run in July and August of 2013, includes more than 140 Chicago teens being trained to use the latest digital tools to organize themselves, amplify their voice, and take positive civic action.
This program, funded by Smart Chicago based on a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is largely run by two Chicago organizations focused on serving youth:
- 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
The Chicago Community Trust provides significant support for the program as well.
Team & Locations
Jacqui Cheng is the lead instructor for Smart Chicago Collaborative. She teams up with Daniel X. O’Neil to deliver four Friday #civicsummer sessions and custom sessions with each group.
Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy houses many #civicsummer sessions as well as the Mikva Juvenile Justice Council and the Free Spirit Media’s DocuMakers program.
YOUMedia is the location for Mikva Digital Fellows, Mikva CPS Education Council, and Teen Health Council.
1871 is the location for one Friday #civicsummer session.
Devry is the location for the Mayoral Youth Commission.
The youth work in separate groups, each with their own themes, leadership, and advisors.
The Juvenile Justice Advisory Council theme is “improving the criminal justice system” and reducing youth incarceration rates. Their decision makers are Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Justice Advisory Counci led by Juliana Stratton. Smart Chicago will be working with this Council on CAPStagram, a proposed app that would allow residents to submit “Community Concerns” via the CLEARPath API.
The Teen Health Council theme is “how to improve the health of wellness for Chicago youth” and their decision makers are Dr. Bechara Choucair, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, and Dr. Stephanie Whyte, Chicago Public Schools Chief Health Officer. Smart Chicago will be working with this Council on Chicago Health Atlas, where you can view citywide information about health trends and take action near you to improve your own health.
The Mayoral Youth Commission theme is “making youth issues a top priority for the City of Chicago” and their decision makers are Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other City departments. Smart Chicago will be working with this Council on the open data policies of the City as well as the data published to data.cityofchicago.org.
The Education Council theme is “how to improve school culture through increased use of youth voice” and their decision makers are Barbara Byrd Bennett, Chicago Public Schools CEO, and Chicago Public Schools Director of Youth Development and Positive Behavior Support. Smart Chicago will be working with this Council on Go2School, a site that allows you to explore travel options to your Chicago Public School. Here’s the curriculum we’re using with this group:
The Mikva Government Fellows theme is “how government works and how it can work for youth” and their decision makers are City Aldermen. Smart Chicago will be working with this Council on Chicago Works for You, which uses the City’s Open311 system to display information about city services. Here’s the curriculum we’re using for this group:
The Free Spirit Media DocuMakers are working on media throughout the summer. Smart Chicago will be working with this group on EveryBlock and the significance of citizen journalism, tutorials on using open-source data tools, and a review of Creative Commons and other useful tools you in youth reporting. Here’s the curriculum for this group:
You can follow our work on @smartchicago, @fsmtweets, and @MikvaChallenge tweeting about #civicsummer, #realchiyouth, and #mikvasquadwegohard &B all things civic, media, and technology in Chicago. See tweets from @MCJJustice 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 list of sets we’ve got thus far:
- Mikva Government Fellows for #civicsummer at The Chicago Community Trust
- Free Spirit Media DocuMakers at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy for Smart Chicago Collaborative’s #civicsummer
Here’s a two-pager on the program: