Step One: Read below about what the term “civic engagement” means.
Civic engagement means working to make a difference in one’s community and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through political and non-political processes. Civic participation encompasses a wide range of formal and informal activities.
Some examples: Voting; volunteering; participating in group activities; attending meetings to get educated on matters of local, town or school governance; rallying or protesting; and even community gardening. Some are individual activities that benefit society (e.g., voting) or group activities that benefit either the group members (e.g., recreational soccer teams) or society (e.g., volunteer organizations). In addition to the direct benefit that civic engagement provides to the community, it can also produce secondary health benefits for participants, such as contributing to a feeling of belonging or purpose and increasing knowledge of issues.
Question One: Based on your reading of the above, has your view of what constitutes the term “civic engagement” changed or expanded? Explain why, either yes or no, and use at least two specific examples.
Step Two: Check out “Democracy 76: The Bucket List for Involved Citizens” at https://www.wethepurple.org/democracy-76-things. Read over the “bucket list” at this link. The list is organized under five headings: “Stay Informed,” “Vote,” “Participate,” “Help Others,” and “Get Social.”
Question Two: Describe any of your own civic engagement activities that you have engaged in up to this point. Be specific. It doesn’t have to be big. Or if you’ve done nothing on the “bucket list,” choose someone you know who has done civic engagement and describe, being specific, what they’ve done.
Question Three: Choose one item under each of the five headings on the “bucket list” that you have never done but might be interested in exploring further. List the heading and the activity under it. Also, explain the steps you would take to get involved or learn more about how to start engaging in that activity. For example, if you want to attend a local school board meeting, look online and find the URL for its website and when they typically meet. Also, what types of decisions do they make that affect our lives? Or, if you want to volunteer for an organization, find its URL and who coordinates volunteers, and what you have to do in order to become a volunteer. Be specific for each of the five activities you list, using examples and including URLs and names if that’s part of the necessary research to learn more about an activity and get participation in that activity off the ground.
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