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The Democracy Project engages teens in civic action through partnerships with local libraries, community organizers, and Humanities Montana. This program gives teens the resources to effect change and know their role in an evolving democracy through direct participation. Students work for six months on projects they feel are vital to their community, ending with a public showcase. They start by brainstorming questions like, “What makes you angry? What do you love that you want to protect or grow? What would you do with the power and resources to make change?” and then they work together, with the support of the librarian and Humanities Montana to figure out solutions.
This year the Democracy Project is being piloted in three libraries: Billings, Missoula, and Whitehall. Since the projects are teen-led they are each very different and specific to each location and group. We have funding in place for next year and are seeking interested libraries to participate. The program was inspired by the Los Angeles Public Library program which you can view here: Teens Leading Change. and generously funded by the Charles Englehard Foundation.
Beginning in September 2022, the program will offer a new cohort of teens hands-on experience working with local government, business and nonprofit leaders, and other people affected by the issue their group chooses to tackle. Would you like to lead this initiative at your library? Humanities Montana will support you in building your teen audience by engaging speakers from our roster to help with outreach.
Librarians receive a $5000 budget to facilitate the project.
Please contact Jenny Bevill, Democracy Project Coordinator, with any questions:
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