Our American Voice® (OAV) is an innovative, ethics-driven, leadership platform that helps students develop a deeper understanding of the American democratic process.
The OAV program empowers students to appreciate the critical role citizens play in a democratic society and explore how they can work together to solve specific issues and create positive change within their communities. It can be implemented in or out of the classroom.
OAV is centered on four core principles:
- Citizenship is a way of life
- With our rights and freedoms come responsibilities
- The success of the individual and the community are mutually dependent
- The informed participation of We the People shapes and sustains our democracy
In a time when the lack of civic education is reaching a crisis point in our schools, and communities, OAV fills the void by providing an innovative and interactive, action-learning module where teachers provide guidance, allowing students the opportunity to collaborate, explore and handle the work. Our approach encourages the students to fully understand the need for a public voice and appreciate their rights as citizens.
The program elements inspire students to exercise their rights, uphold their responsibilities and to embrace community membership by seeking solutions to an issue not just with supporters but also with those who may disagree. As they work on their issue, the students learn critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills.
OAV programs share these common characteristics:
- Highly trained, committed program staff that are supported by the community.
- Access to local government officials and elected representatives who engage with the youth on a regular basis contributing to their learning, sense of self-worth and success of the project.
- Involvement by the students, educators, parents and the entire community.