Everyone has a different role. Here are some examples, laid out in greater detail in the Georgia Civic Health Index and the Metro Atlanta Civic Health Index, of what we can all do to improve civic health:
- Get to know and talk to your neighbors.
- Volunteer for a community project.
- Attend a public meeting, whether it is hosted by a government entity or a community group.
- Take a young person to a public meeting.
- Take part in community and regional events.
- Call, write, email or visit your elected representatives.
NON-PROFIT AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS:
- Make a commitment to focus on engaging young people in civic activities.
- Organize forums that bring together diverse groups of people to discuss a shared problem.
- Ensure your organization is reaching out to and welcoming of all kinds of people, and find ways to keep your members meaningfully engaged.
- Leverage senior citizen civic engagement into opportunities for them to share their experiences with younger residents.
- Fund projects that seek to close gaps in civic engagement, especially for younger residents and residents with lower income and educational attainment.
FOUNDATIONS AND PHILANTHROPIC ORGANIZATIONS:
- Add civic engagement practices to your funding criteria to build stronger, more engaged communities.
- Partner with other agencies to produce joint civic engagement opportunities.
PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND GOVERNMENT:
- Partner with diverse community groups to hold public conversations on public problems. Commit to listening and responding to what all participants have to say.
- Provide opportunities for all types of residents to participate in public policy making. This may include giving residents the opportunity to redesign the format and process of public meetings.
- Use social media to target and engage all residents. Help underrepresented groups (e.g., Hispanics, Asian Americans and African Americans), young residents, and those with lower income and educational attainment gain the experience they need to sit on boards and commissions.
- Encourage greater voter participation in all communities.
- Reduce barriers to civic participation, including transportation, language and timing options.
- Create incentives for employee civic engagement.
- Partner with local organizations to provide opportunities for employees to volunteer. Use corporate giving to support programs that boost civic engagement.
- Provide civic education for parents, grandparents, and guardians, especially those from lower income and immigrant communities. Teach civics through service-learning and public engagement projects. Take students to see civics in action at a city council meeting or a public hearing.
- Provide training for all teachers in civics and encourage them to weave it into their courses regardless of subject matter.
- Provide ample opportunity for high school students to register to vote when of age and to participate in community service projects.
- Partner with local organizations that offer opportunities for students to learn about and participate in civic life.