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Youth Development

The Civic Spring Project is supporting six grantee partnerships who are meaningfully partnering, mentoring and involving young people over the summer in responding to local community needs in one of two areas: responding to COVID-19 and/or building civic capacities for the 2020 election cycle.

Hear from a few of the young people involved in each of the funded projects sharing their motivation for the work they’ll do this summer.


“I have been working with Groundwork since 2017 when I was only 14 years old as a participant in the New Jersey Health Initiatives “Next Generation Community Leaders” program. For the Civic Spring program, I am looking forward to making an even greater impact in the community, because I and the other youth in the program are looking to take what we learned by studying our community and the people in it and will be able to now lend our voice to affect the health related pandemic and other disease related policies where we live.”

Julie Ramirez, 17, Groundwork Elizabeth


“Shift Press is where Houston youth think, feel, and build together. I’m excited to engage in transformative work where young people—especially youth of color—are given the resources to better our city.”

Martha Aguirre, 19, Shift Press


“COVID-19 affected my family and those around me in so many ways and has had a disproportionate impact on people of color. Our city was hit especially hard. It will be important for us to make sure the experiences of students, parent, and people – are documented. We are living history. We can use this platform to discuss issues such as the digital divide, educational inequality and racial disparities in healthcare, with the goal to make change. That is what ALI teaches us to do.”

Quanye White, Graduating Senior, Malcolm X Shabazz High School


“This will be my first time voting in an election, so I’m excited that we’ll now have this support from Civic Spring to do more work in our community registering voters and educating them about civic engagement,” said Kiana Suggs, who will be 18 this fall, and is a youth leader in the Kinston Teens organization. “We’re a group of young people that really care about making a difference in our community, and we know that voting, organizing and advocating is the way to bring about change.”


“Students are the experts on what learning during COVID-19 looks like and feels like. Our goal is to help educators, policymakers, and advocates see students as partners in getting through this crisis and in improving schools beyond it.”

Emanuelle Sippy, Student Director, Prichard Committee Student Voice Team


“Our work growing the civic engagement of Minnesota’s voting age youth this summer will help make our state a more equitable and just place for young people and all people.”

Walter Cortina, 17, Director of Bridgemakers