Next Gen Politics created a supportive place to develop necessary communication skills that I wish to help convey to other students. Not only does this program generate thought-provoking conversations and introduce students to important and intelligent professionals in various fields, but it teaches conversational skills that can apply to all walks of life.
I learned, through small group work in discussions, about fostering conversation and keeping it thoughtful, and I believe these communication tools are necessary in all relationships and community environments. Although practicing expressing my political beliefs was important and useful, learning to listen and encourage others to express themselves was the most valuable experience I had during Civic Forums. Learning to ask questions, and ask people to dig deeper into their own ideas, while not going so far as to sound offensive proved to be the most effective conversation-starter technique I practiced. Being able to design activities to inspire thoughtful conversation taught me about the role of a teacher, and forced me to think back and reflect about both successful and unsuccessful teachers I’ve had. In this way, Civic Forums enabled me to think deeply about the ways in which I learn best.Molly Fraser
Next Generation Politics has been the source of my education about the world around me over the past two years. The Civic Fellows from across New York and New Jersey have helped me grow by making me feel comfortable to share my thoughts on topics that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I have learned about so many different civic issues that impact our society: gerrymandering, immigration, gentrification and more that I haven’t had the opportunity to learn about in school. Because of Next Generation Politics, when looking into colleges, my first thoughts were to make sure that that they had a civic center or political outreach programs because those are two programs that I am now eager to work in. In fact, I am applying to schools with strong Public Policy majors, with hopes that I will become a policymaker in my future. My eyes have been opened to many possibilities in the political science field and I now have the confidence and passion to dive right in.Lila Podgainy
“Next Generation Politics is an amazing way to fill the civics-shaped gap in students’ education. Not only does it teach civics, but it provides students with diverse conversation on a range of civic issues. The most important part of my experience was getting to talk about a large range of topics with people my age who came from a variety of different schools, boroughs, states, races, incomes, and more. I love helping facilitate those discussions for the next generation of Civic Fellows. I often find that people my age do not engage a lot in political discussions which leads to civic inactivity later in life. I believe that engaging students in civic debates from an early age will increase voter turn out and civic participation in the future.”Daniela Finlay
It was inspiring to participate in the Civic Forum and to experience first hand the students engaging in thoughtful and difficult deliberations. And it was very informative; we will draw upon what we saw as we go forward, interacting with other, often very different groups. I noted in my opening remarks that Next Generation Politics is a joy all around. Congratulations on a fine, fine program.Steven O. Kimbrough
It is always encouraging to speak with teenagers who are curious and engaged with the national political discourse, and who represent a broad cross-section of thought and experience in New York. Their questions following my presentation are indicative of an audience that really absorbed the subject matter and will go on to think more critically about these important issues of policy, society, and ethics. The forum does a good job of fomenting this dialogue in a thoughtful and productive way, and I know it will continue to present these young students with the tools to be active and inquisitive members of society.Felipe De La Hoz
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