The Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship developed Public Achievement as a youth civic organizing model in 1990. Today, Public Achievement is used in schools and communities in several states and around the world in Turkey and Eastern Europe, South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Gaza and the West Bank.
An internationally-recognized model
Public Achievement has been recognized as one of the best youth citizenship education efforts in the world. In 2007, it was named one of 15 finalists for the prestigious Carl Bertelsmann prize. Awarded annually since 1981, the international award recognizes “innovative approaches and outstanding ideas that help shape and further develop democratic societies.” A high school student in Albania says that Public Achievement taught her “how to share ideas and make a project. I learned that my voice can be heard, that I can do something for my school, my community, myself.”
Public Achievement in schools
The Public Achievement organizing model recognizes that people of every age have skills, talents and ideas, and that by learning to work strategically with others they can solve problems and build sustainable democratic societies. In a school setting, young people form teams to take action on a public problem that is important to them (for example, driving out gang activity or improving classroom space). The team works with a coach—typically a teacher or college student—to develop an action plan. Through practice and reflection, the team members develop public skills and confidence.
Public Achievement in communities
The Warrior to Citizen Campaign and the Clear Vision Eau Claire (Wisconsin) are examples of communities using the Public Achievement model to work together in addressing common challenges.
Training and materials
The Center for Democracy and Citizenship has created materials and offers training for schools and community groups that want to use the Public Achievement organizing model. Visit the Public Achievement website or contact the center at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Prepared by student coaches at Naropa University (September 2006)
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