Public Achievement provides young people of all ages the practical experience of designing and implementing their own projects to solve serious public problems while simultaneously asking them to learn about the broader conceptual and theoretical issues of public life. By working on issues that directly affect their lives, young people learn that politics is found in the day-to-day action that people take to make changes in their communities and their lives. Our hope is that the Public Achievement will initiate young people as lifelong public actors in our diverse and challenging world. However, PA is more than the changing of individual lives. Our ultimate goal is to help renew democracy. As increasingly greater numbers of people see themselves as citizens and act together to repair and build our common world, Public Achievement becomes more than a civic education initiative, it becomes a national movement. Public Achievement is a youth civic engagement initiative focused on the most basic concepts of citizenship, democracy and public work. Public Achievement draws on the talents and desires of ordinary people to build a better world and to create a different kind of politics.
Our work is anchored by a few core ideas:
- Everybody can do citizen work: All people—regardless of age, nationality, sex, religion, income or education—can be powerful public actors.
- Citizenship isn’t easy: Democracy is messy and sometimes frustrating, but when you work hard with others you can accomplish extraordinary things.
- We learn by doing: The most important lessons of democracy come from doing public work and finding ways to cooperate with people who are different and may disagree. We learn from each other when we solve problems together. This is the kind of politics that everyone can do, not just politicians.
Public Achievement Kinlani shares their model of PA at the Flagstaff site:
The PA ARTs are excited about the momentum growing over the past few years. A leadership development training in particular brought members from the NAU, FUSD, and Flagstaff communities together in a new, truly connected way. As a result, both Kinsey and Killip Elementary Schools boast two new parent/community collaboratives addressing issues in their neighborhoods and schools and are active in seeking positive change through democratic civic action.
NAU Public Achievement (PA) began in the Spring of 2009 with a pilot project at Killip Elementary. Since then it has grown to full-blown programs at Killip elmentary, Kinsey elementary, Kinlani Bordertown Dormitory, and a new project in the College of Education at NAU. PA typically pairs NAU students who work as coaches/facilitators with teams of K-12 students to provide all with an engaged education on grassroots leadership, community building, and stewardship. Students learn key concepts of democracy as they work together to generate changes around issues of their own choosing. In the past couple of years, elementary students have chosen projects on issues of library books, playgrounds, school gardens, diabetes, the domestic violence shelter, the food bank, and many others. Students in PA can not only be the leaders of tomorrow, but those of today! This coming year, 200 K-12 students will participate in PA, coached by NAU students taking two courses dedicated to this initiative.
Publich Achievement ART is a partnership with:
The national Public Achievement organization
Program in Community, Culture & Environment
Sustainable Environments and Engaged Democracy (SEED) Freshman Learning Community
Master of Arts in Sustainable Communities (SUS)
Flagstaff Unified School District
Killip Elementary School
Kinsey Elementary School
For more information contact Lauren.Berutich@nau.edu or Jacob.Dolence@nau.edu