Case study: Youth Leadership Initiative

by Tuyet Ngo on Thu, 2011-03-31 11:27
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Name: Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI)
Location: USA
Date Founded: 1998
Mission:  The Youth Leadership Initiative at the University of Virginia Center for Politics is dedicated to increasing civic engagement by providing teachers with the best civics education materials and programs.

Background and aims

In 1998 the University of Virginia’s professor and Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato founded the Youth Leadership Initiative to combat the apathy and cynicism that he saw in his politics students. Professor Sabato believed that by creating a quality civics education programs students would be energized to accept the responsibilities of citizenship and become lifelong participants in the American democracy.

The Innovation

YLI develops free education resources designed to assist civics teachers, and encourage students to participate in the political process. YLI jump-starts a lifetime of civic engagement for the next generation by creating innovative technology-based projects that bring the American democratic process to life in  the classroom.

Key Ingredients

Activities such as the yearly Mock Election, E-Congress, Democracy Corps, and YLI lesson plans do more than just teach about civics and government. Each program is infused with simulations and hands-on projects that connect students with the political process.

With the touch of a button, students leap into the world of politics through the civic education resources of the Youth Leadership Initiative.

Lesson Plans– YLI offers over 100 rigorous teacher developed K-12 civics and government lesson plans and the curriculum continues to grow.

Mock Election– Each fall, YLI conducts the largest secure, student only, online mock election in the U.S. using ballots tailored to student’s home legislative district. The 2011 National Mock Election will run from October 24 until November 3. YLI also hosts Mock Election anytime and has the ability to host state and international mock elections.

E- Congress– YLI’s E-Congress allows students to simulate the role of a representative in the United States Congress, by researching and drafting legislation, debating it in legislative committees and voting along with thousands of other students across the country.

Democracy Corps– The YLI Democracy Corps answers students’ questions about why we have democracy and why students can be involved in it. Students interact with local political leaders, deliberate solutions to real problems and influence public policy related to contemporary issues.


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