Teens across the country are ready and willing to serve as leaders in their communities. A 2011 survey conducted by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America supported by the Case Foundation and Nickelodeon shows America’s youth as recognizing the importance of civic engagement in their communities and the opportunity for education to help them achieve community needs and goals. The survey, “Teens Speak Up: A National Youth Survey on Civic Engagement and Citizenship,” was created for, and conducted by, teens across the country, giving teens a voice in identifying and addressing issues in their communities.
The results of the survey paint a picture of a rather optimistic and engaged youth citizenry. For example:
Six out of ten teens think that it is important to serve as leaders in their community while still teenagers.
Two out of three teens believe they would learn more in the classroom if they had the opportunity to see how the principles they are taught work in their community.
Four out of five teens agree that going to college is necessary to achieve career goals.
But what does the rest of America do with this information? While teens admit they are ready to serve in their communities, the Case Foundation believes that youth activism begins with communities providing opportunities for engagement. “Government, educators, nonprofits, and corporations must collaborate to continue to find moments and mechanisms to give youth a voice and give them an opportunity to serve.”