Interpersonal competencies and skills are critical for civic participation. They include leadership, teamwork, and cooperation. Young people can build these competencies by participating in programs that target civic engagement. Participating in such programs also helps develop critical thinking skills.
Leadership, teamwork, and cooperation, for example, are important for participating in groups,
organizing groups, and making cooperative decisions.
Key research findings include
- Participation in programs that target civic engagement and service can lead to
increases in important interpersonal skills that are necessary to later participation
in civic activities and organizations.
- Youth who participated in the civic education program Kids Voting USA developed increased deliberative habits such as listening
to opponents and the willingness to disagree with others.
- Teamwork and leadership lead to positive outcomes among middle
school students. Both teamwork and leadership foster social skills and leadership
skills help prevent internalized problem behaviors.
- Kids Voting USA is a program (K-12) integrated in the school curriculum in the months leading
up to Election Day. The curriculum includes peer discussions (e.g., classroom
debates), opportunities to analyze political media, service-learning, civic
activities, and activities inside the home with parents and siblings.
- A longitudinal study found that the program
had both short-and long-term effects on civic development.
- YouthBuild is a 9- to 24-month full-time program targeting disadvantaged youth. It integrates
education and community service (i.e., building homes), job training, leadership
development, individual counseling, and mentoring.
- In addition to boosting high school graduation rates, YouthBuild increased civic engagement among its participants.
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