Some happy news, friends! The Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government (LFI) was recently recognized for their work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida’s After School Zone by the Florida After School Alliance (FASA). LFI was honored with the inaugural Special Recognition Award for their contribution to the civic well-being of Florida’s youth.
Since 2017, LFI and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida have partnered to provide a hands-on, civic learning experience for students in their after school program. The Civic Action Project (CAP), was designed in collaboration with the Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF), and is a free resource available to schools and community groups from CRF. CAP provides young people with opportunities to deliberate, collaborate, and form civic relationships with their peers as they investigate issues that matter to them. The premise of the project is to get young people to be thinking about their community, the impact public policy has on their community, and the ways they can interact with the decision makers to positively affect the issues they identify happening in their community.
In their nomination of the Lou Frey Institute to the FASA Awards Committee, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida said,
“The UCF Lou Frey Institute collaborative supports our Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida After School Zone mission of inspiring and enabling all young people including those from disadvantaged circumstances to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. The Civic Action Project equips our middle school students with the tools for positive participation in local politics, social advocacy, and community engagement. Through the community involvement of the Lou Frey Institute, our young people are empowered to work as a team with their peers and adult leaders to promote historic initiatives that have the potential for lifelong benefits within the Central Florida region and beyond.”
Young people participating in the After School Zone have addressed projects that include, but are not limited to:
- Cyber bullying prevention
- Advocacy for adapting school and community playgrounds for children with disabilities
- Elevating education for middle school students
- Mental health support services for students
- School gun violence prevention
- Food waste prevention among school cafeterias in Orange County, Florida
Kelvin Curry, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida’s Director of Middle School programs said,
“The Civic Action Project truly inspires and enables our young people to have a real voice and leave their positive mark on society as those who can stand on the right-side of history.”
The Lou Frey Institute was honored at the Florida After School Alliance’s annual awards banquet held at the end of September.
If you are interested in learning more about the Civic Action Project for your school or community group, please contact the Florida Joint Center for Citizenship’s Action Civics Coordinator, Chris Spinale. You may also reach out to LFI Interim Director Steve Masyada for more information.