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Thanks for a great event!

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Although not a large event this year, our inaugural Kid's Civic Engagement Day was a success thanks to our generous volunteers, our co-host, The Madison Public Library, and our wonderful participating organizations.

1st Annual Kid's Civic Engagement Day 

Guest reader Lee Murkey with I Vote Madison Founders
Guest reader Lee Murkey with I Vote Madison Founders

Lee Murkey donated a copy of Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds. Murkey is a visual artist, video essayist, writer, and is now adding playwright and director to his long list of talents. He is also a board member of Project Say Something in Florence, Alabama and a political coordinator.

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Sweet Temptations and The Potato Factory
Sweet Temptations and The Potato Factory

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North Alabama Zoological Society
North Alabama Zoological Society

Children color postcards that feature endemic Alabama animals that are either threatened or endangered.

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Guest reader Lee Murkey with I Vote Madison Founders
Guest reader Lee Murkey with I Vote Madison Founders

Lee Murkey donated a copy of Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds. Murkey is a visual artist, video essayist, writer, and is now adding playwright and director to his long list of talents. He is also a board member of Project Say Something in Florence, Alabama and a political coordinator.

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Civic Engagement Role Models

Watch as our featured youth civic engagement role models talk about their successful civic engagement project.

Under the guidance of their teacher, Kristin Smith, these homeschool students from the North Alabama Learning Exchange were instrumental at giving Alabama an official state vegetable: The sweet potato.

 

Monster Needs Your Vote

Sarah Bang, League of Women Voters Tennessee Valley, reads our featured book, Monster Needs Your Vote.

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Download documents from the event

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These postcards feature endemic Alabama animals that are threatened or endangered (endemic means they live nowhere else but in Alabama). Take action by coloring them and mailing them to someone to raise awareness.

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These flyers provide information on how kids can volunteer in our community. 

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Give a voter a thank you card.

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Vote for Our Future

Heather Morgan, Co-founder of I Vote Madison, reads Vote for Our Future. This book was chosen by our co-sponsor, The Madison Public Library.

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Monster Needs Your Vote Activities

Children at the event participated in a mock election inspired by Monster's platform. In the book, Monster decides to run for president on a platform of longer summers and then on a platform of dessert for dinner. Volunteers from the League of Women Voters Tennessee Valley facilitated the election and even walked around the event with clipboards to register our young voters. We asked our voters whether they would prefer longer summers or dinner for dessert. The vote? Longer summers won the election by 9 votes. 

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In the book, Monster moved from his platforms of dessert for dinner and longer summers to an issue that was more important to his community: Saving the public library. And even though Monster learned he wasn't old enough to run for president or vote, he was still able to take action to help save the library. After they voted in their mock election, we asked our young voters to think about the issues they care about and would form a platform around if they were running for president. We set up a photo backdrop and provided inspirational signs, chalkboards and chalk, a megaphone, and even a soapbox to stand on.

About the 1st Annual Kid's Civic Engagement Day

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Future Voters Taking Action Now! 

Even though children can't yet vote, they can be involved citizens and play a role in shaping their communities through other civic engagement activities. This was relayed in our star story, Monster Needs Your Vote by Paul Czajak. 
We wanted to create a children's community event that celebrated civic engagement. Monster Needs Your Vote was a big inspiration for the event and for our plans to build a youth civic engagem
ent program in our city. We began looking at other children's picture books that embodied various aspects of civic engagement and the event began to take shape. 

Books

The book Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds is about using one's voice (whether it is through talking, writing poetry, or creating art) to make a difference. Stone Soup by Marilyn Sapienza embodies working together as a community and the spirit of giving. Building pride and ownership in one's community is relayed in Susan Verde's Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community. Margaret McNamara's Vote for Our Future is a good companion book to Monster Needs Your Vote. It details the importance of voting and includes examples of how kids can encourage the voting-age individuals in their lives to get out and vote. We held a drawing at the event and gave away a copy of each book except Stone Soup, which is out of print. We also gave away a Spanish-language version of Hey, Wall. and thanks to a donation from our guest reader Lee Murkey we were able to hold an online drawing for Say Something for those not able to attend the event. 


Youth Role Models

We invited older youth to the event who could serve as civic engagement role models. Our featured presenters were homeschool students who were instrumental in designating an official state vegetable for Alabama.

Eagle Scout Andrew Gohlich is a youth role model who is creating a memory tower that will be part of Madison's new city playground. He is collecting memories of Kid's Kingdom, the beloved playground that's being replaced, to incorporate into the tower.

Ricki Schwartz, the coordinator for the PTA Reflections Arts Program for Madison City Schools, attended to speak about the program and present a slide show of the winning student pieces. The Reflections contest allows students to express themselves in the areas of visual arts, photography, dance choreography, music composition, film production, and literature. Each year students who enter the contest do so around a chosen theme. The theme chosen for this last year was I Will Change the World By...  We hope to have student winners at our next kid's engagement event to present their work. Next year's Reflections theme is Show Your Voice. 

Activities

Activities were provided to accompany each book. We created a large-scale cooperative memory game based on the Stone Soup board game by Peaceable Kids (we gave away one copy of the official game to those who entered a drawing at the event). For Monster Needs Your Vote, attendees participated in a mock election facilitated by the League of Women Voters Tennessee Valley and had the opportunity to let people know what issues they care about and what platform they would have if they were running for president. For Vote for Our Future, the library provided thank you cards that attendees could fill out to give to voting-age grownups in their lives. 

We created a second photo backdrop for the book Hey, Wall: A Story of Art and Community. Children could take photos with the blue backdrop to create a "wall" that is representative of them (We are working with the city of Madison to plan for a real mural that represents everyone in our city). Attendees had multiple ways to "say things" by participating in our activities. We also wanted children to have the opportunity to contribute to a cause while at our event. We invited local organizations doing work in the areas of animal welfare, food security, elder care, and the environment to come and provide these opportunities. The North Alabama Zoological Society came and together we created postcards that feature threatened/endangered animals that are endemic to Alabama. Children colored postcards and can help raise awareness of these animals by mailing the cards to friends and family or even a local legislator. 
 

2nd Annual Kid's Civic Engagement Day

If you are interested in working with us as a volunteer, a sponsor, or as a participating organization or student group for next year's event, let us know.


ivotemadison@gmail.com