Kids Voting Mecklenburg changes name to GenerationNation
Kids Voting Mecklenburg, the Charlotte area’s K-12 civics education organization for 20 years, has changed its name to GenerationNation, a reflection of the group’s broad scope of work and vision to expand students’ understanding and interest in government, leadership and community affairs through civics education, civic learning opportunities and civic leadership training.
The selection of GenerationNation follows several years of research, planning, and feedback from hundreds of students, teachers, parents and civic leaders.
“As we began to think about all we have accomplished in our first 20 years, we determined that this was an ideal opportunity for us to look at all aspects of our organization, including our identity, and make some changes to better reflect the services we provide to our students and the entire Charlotte-Mecklenburg community,” said Julian H. Wright Jr., chairman of the GenerationNation board of directors and a partner with Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson. “GenerationNation recognizes the broad range of civic education, civic leadership and civic engagement opportunities we provide to K-12 students. Our work extends well beyond mock votes held once a year.”
Launched in 1992 by former Charlotte Observer publisher Rolfe Neill, with other civic leaders, Kids Voting Mecklenburg was initially a way to help students participate in annual mock voting events. Today, the organization connects classroom education with civic learning opportunities to help K-12 students in school, build their civic literacy and develop as effective citizens and leaders.
The change comes at a time when the call for renewed civics education is being stressed at the national level. Last week, at an event launching a national conversation about civics education, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan reinforced the importance of educating students to lead in their schools, communities and nation.
"Today's students are tomorrow's leaders, and giving them a strong foundation in civic values is critical to the vitality of America's democracy and economy in the 21st century," Duncan said. “This call to action is an opportunity to develop and improve civic learning as part of a well-rounded education so every student has a sense of citizenship.”
As a 20-year partner of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and non-public schools in the community, Kids Voting Mecklenburg – now GenerationNation – plays an essential role in building civic literacy, student achievement and leadership from an early age. Civics and history are public school graduation requirements, with civic knowledge woven throughout the K-12 curriculum in social studies, language arts and other subjects.
GenerationNation, a nonpartisan non-profit (501c3) organization, is the home for the programs the community has helped to make a success including the highly successful Kids Voting Mecklenburg election, YouthCivics, Youth Voice Leadership Alliance, K-12 civics and leadership education and a host of civic learning opportunities. Initiatives for 2012 include expansion of youth civic leadership programming, educational opportunities linked to the 2012 conventions, and the use of technology to educate and engage students on leadership, government and civic issues.
“The name GenerationNation truly captures how today’s students want to be more engaged in their schools and communities, and how we can help them develop as leaders who are well on their way to making our community and nation a better place,” Wright said. “Students need to understand how their governments and communities work, and want to know their voice matters, will be heard, and that their opinions can have an effect on the policies, decisions and pressing issues of the day.”
For more information about programs, volunteer opportunities and ways to support K-12 civic education and leadership, visit GenerationNation on the web at http://www.generationnation.org/ or contact Executive Director Amy Farrell at 704-343-6999 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Henry, Wray Ward
Amy Farrell, GenerationNation
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