Sanjana and Arshia from Youthivism answer some questions about their organization!
1. Tell us all about you and your organization!
We’re the co-founders of Youthivism, an organization striving to expand access to nonpartisan civics curriculum in the classroom, created by and for students! We work with a team of high school chapter leads across the nation to connect with their local middle schools and host nonpartisan civics seminars (basically interactive lectures and discussions) in their area, delving into super contentious issues like immigration and environmental policy from our nonpartisan angle. We also release biweekly mini lessons for educators across the nation in the form of a curriculum packet delivered directly to their inbox, containing an animated video, discussion-based activity, and take-home assignment all created and designed by our team. All of our curriculum is verified nonpartisan by our Youth Advisory Board, a coalition of 12+ students from all states/political affiliations who convene to ensure all points of view are equally represented. We’ve recently hit 70 educators from all geographies actively utilizing our curriculum, and it’s certainly a proud moment for us!
2. Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
We’ve always firmly believed in the value of youth voices in dictating their own education, and in something as contentious as civics curriculum creation, we think it’s all the more valuable that students educate each other. In our California hometown, we’ve been taught government and history from a partisan lens, whether it be through instructor implicit bias or through actual curricula used in the classroom. When we involve students in the process, they are not only able to speak best to the issues they see in their schools, but also develop critical thinking and conversation skills necessary to dismantle partisan gridlock atop Capitol Hill.
3. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
We’re relatively optimistic about the future- and that’s not just because of the work we’re doing, but because of our generation’s relentless dedication to solving societal issues around them. There is power in being a part of GenZ; we don’t hesitate to get things done, and we do so with real passion, grit, and determination.
4. What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
One of the most important issues facing us right now is a stagnant government, unwilling to act on pertinent issues. All advocacy pursued by students and groups is rendered useless if our own legislative body is unwilling to reach across the aisle and pass productive reform. We hope to shift this paradigm, and we know it’s important to start young. By teaching students to be receptive to political dialogue, and enabling them to find efficacy in multi-party collaboration, we hope that our generation spearheads the deliberatively democratic ideals America stands for in the future.
5. What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
As we mentioned above, dismantling gridlock in our government is absolutely critical. By equipping students with the tools necessary to engage in productive conversations through our nonpartisan work, we can create a future wherein the barrier to passing reform can be surpassed with a mere exchange of ideas.
6. Will you be voting in the next election?
Yes! Absolutely! It’s imperative to fulfill our civic duties- and casting a ballot is the first step!
7. Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects and endeavors. Tell everyone where to find you online and on social platforms.
We’re always looking for more ways to reach out to people! If you are a student interested in leadership and collaboration- start a Youthivism chapter in your area. If you prefer to work on evaluating curriculum, sign up for our Youth Advisory Board. And, of course, if you are an educator interested in signing up for our biweekly packages- feel free to do so! Opportunities for involvement are endless at Youthivism, and can all be found on our website.
You can reach us at www.youthivism.com, @youthivism on Instagram/Facebook!
8. If there is anything else you would like to say, please do!
We’re always looking to help our fellow GenZ organizations. If a partnership is something that could be of value, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Look out for future Zoom sessions from Youthivism!