Civic Reflection and National Service Programs
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Civic Reflection and National Service Programs Case Studies of Public Allies, City Year, and AmeriCorps Project YES!. Becca Bernstein and Yangyang Zong Project on Civic Reflection. Outline. Who are we? What is Civic Reflection?

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Becca Bernstein and Yangyang Zong Project on Civic Reflection

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Becca bernstein and yangyang zong project on civic reflection

Civic Reflection and National Service ProgramsCase Studies of Public Allies, City Year, and AmeriCorps Project YES!

Becca Bernstein and Yangyang Zong

Project on Civic Reflection


Outline

Outline

  • Who are we?

  • What is Civic Reflection?

  • Civic Reflection and National Service Groups - Meaning of Service

  • Sample Discussion

  • Case studies of Project YES!, Public Allies, and City Year

  • Panel discussion

  • Q&A


Project on civic reflection

Project on Civic Reflection

  • Who We Are

    • Organization affiliated with Valparaiso University

    • Help communities, individuals and organizations think and talk about their values and the meaning of their work in the world

  • What We Do

    • Lead reflective discussions

    • Train facilitators

    • Consult and coach reflection and dialogue programming

    • Develop resources

    • Make the case for reflection and dialogue


What is civic reflection

What is Civic Reflection?

  • A practice that helps people think and talk across difference about their identities, communities, and commitments.

  • 3 Elements

    • A group of people

    • A shared civic activity (i.e. volunteering, teaching, nonprofit work, etc.)

    • A reading, image, or video


Who uses civic reflection

Who Uses Civic Reflection?

  • Service and Volunteerism

    • State Service Commissions and National Service

    • Service and Civic Organizations

  • Education

    • Higher Education

    • Teachers

  • Arts and Culture

    • Museums and Libraries

    • State Humanities Council

    • Arts Organizations

  • Healthcare and Social Services

  • Faith and Interfaith

  • Philanthropy


Service and volunteerism

Service and Volunteerism

  • State Service Commissions

  • National Service Groups

  • Service and Civic Organizations


Meaning of service

Meaning of Service

  • National reading and discussion program for service volunteers

  • Engage in conversations to explore questions essential to the service experience

  • 8 states – Illinois, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, New York, Ohio, Wyoming

  • Workshops and discussion series


Impact on national service groups

Impact on National Service Groups

  • Clarity

    • Better understanding of one’s values, beliefs, and motivations for service and civic activity

    • Better able to articulate one’s thoughts

  • Community

    • Improved relationships between and among program staff and AmeriCorps members

    • Improved ability to understand and relate to others, especially those who we serve

  • Commitment

    • Higher rates of retention and noticeable increase in renewal (70% said CR increased their commitment to serve)


Outcomes member satisfaction and development

Outcomes – Member Satisfaction and Development

  • Critical thinking

  • Leadership development

  • Improved communication skills

  • Increased capacity for dialogue across difference

  • Out of 200 respondents who participated in Meaning of Service (MoS) discussions in 2011:

    • 91.5% indicated that MoS challenged them to think more deeply about their impact on others.

    • 88.5% said MoS helped them examine the complexities of service.

    • 65.5% agreed that MoS increased their commitment to service.

    • 73.5% strongly agreed that MoS improved their AmeriCorps experience

    • 64.5% said that MoS improved their relationships with other AmeriCorps members.


Sample discussion

Sample Discussion

  • A taste of Civic Reflection

  • 30 minutes

  • One point person per group


Expectations

Expectations

  • Be mindful of time and your participation, as we hope to get everyone involved

  • Try to use each other’s names and keep an open mind about opinions that are different than yours

  • It’s okay to disagree

  • Whatever your experience is with poetry – whether you love it or hate it – the goal is to get us thinking about our work so let’s leave those feelings aside

  • At the end of the discussion, we hope to have more questions than we have answers


Opening exercise

Opening Exercise

  • Please spend a minute thinking about the following questions. When you’re ready, please turn to the person next to you and share. Allow 2-3 minutes for each person to share.

  • Think of a time in your work or service this year when you felt like you were making an impact. What were you doing? Who were you doing it with? How did you know you were making an impact?


Becca bernstein and yangyang zong project on civic reflection

Write down one question that you have moving forward about your own work or service.


Public allies and civic reflection

Public Allies and Civic Reflection

  • Public Allies is a national AmeriCorps program that places leaders from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds at non-profit organizations and community centers to build capacity and strengthen civic participation.

  • Public Allies has incorporated civic reflection into its training and programming since 2003

  • How has Public Allies used civic reflection?

    • Meaning of Service discussion series

    • Mid-year leadership retreat

    • Strategic planning with staff around revised mission

    • Many alums have become facilitators and trainers who have attended and/or helped to run workshops


Public allies and cr the numbers

Public Allies and CR: the numbers

  • In 2011-2012, 89% of Public Ally members agreed or strongly agreed that civic reflection “challenged me to think more deeply about my impact on others.”

  • In 2011-2012, 82% of Public Ally members agreed or strongly agreed that civic reflection “made me more likely to continue with some form of service or civic engagement in the future.”

  • Quotes:

    • Civic reflection “made me less afraid to have discussions with people about “difficult” topics.”

    • “I’m much more likely to reflect on my work now and I’m a stronger advocate of reflection.”


Project yes and civic reflection

Project YES! and Civic Reflection

  • Project YES! is an AmeriCorps program that connects members with youth in the West Town community in Chicago to support their academic achievement, provide alternatives to destructive behavior, and foster an ethic of service.

  • Project YES! has incorporated civic reflection into its training and programming since 2003

  • How has Project YES! used civic reflection?

    • Meaning of Service discussion series

    • Mid-year retreat

    • Sends members to open-call facilitation trainings (with 6 members attending our training this May!)

    • Used in conjunction with Days of Service (Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Global Youth Service Day, etc.)


Project yes and cr the numbers

Project YES! and CR: the numbers

  • In 2011-2012, 87% of Project YES! members agreed or strongly agreed that civic reflection “positively impacted my commitment to service.”

  • Between 2011-2012, nearly 9 out of every 10 Project YES! members agreed or strongly agreed that civic reflection “improved my relationships with other members and volunteers.”

  • Quotes:

    • “The reflection and critical thinking that happens in these discussions creates a richer, deeper, and more meaningful experience of service.”

    • Civic reflection helped me “process and think about my experiences on a larger scale, not just as day-to-day service – helped me see the bigger picture.”


City year and civic reflection

City Year and Civic Reflection

  • City Year is a national service organization that unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service to keep students in school and on track to graduation.

  • City Year has incorporated civic reflection into its training and programming since 2005

  • How has City Year used civic reflection?

    • Started with the staff the first year

    • Discussion Series with Senior Corps (second-year team leaders)

    • Mid-year and leadership retreats

    • Staff meetings to explore organizational challenges

    • Many members have gone on to lead discussions with high school and elementary school students.


City year and cr the numbers

City Year and CR: the numbers

  • 90% of City Year Senior Corps members said they agreed or strongly agreed that civic reflection “helped me examine the complexities of service.”

  • 73% of City Year Senior Corps members said they agreed or strongly agreed that civic reflection “improved my ability to communicate my values and ideas to others.”

  • Quotes:

    • “I can say with certainty that I am more comfortable challenging and talking about the challenges of my service.”

    • Civic reflection has offered “the ability for me to freely express myself as well as gain valuable insight about my teammates’ values and ideologies.”


Panel discussion

Panel Discussion

  • Rebecca Brown – Former Public Allies member and staff member, and current facilitator for Meaning of Service discussions.

  • CarlySiuta– Impact Manager at City Year.

  • Micaela Moran – Program Manager at AmeriCorps Project YES!


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