How the election can spark civic engagement in kids

It’s not all about voting, and the lessons children learn can help them become responsible citizens.

Handmade posters are propped beside trays of brownies and cupcakes as kids entice passersby with chants of “Justice is delicious!” The monthly event, called Bake Sale for Justice, asks people to donate any amount in exchange for a sweet treat. In about four years, the Chicago group has raised over $24,000 for organizations such as March for Our Lives, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

“Being part of Bake Sale for Justice has definitely given the kids an awareness of other people’s realities,” says Anne Fogarty, who helped her 14-year-old daughter, Nora Fox, launch the group in November 2016. “They see what’s happening in the world—in the news—and understand how different issues impact different people. Most of all, they see that they can make change.”

The kids are getting a lesson in how to be civic-minded—which at its core means understanding the fundamentals of government and the issues facing their community. But for many, it’s also about valuing the rights of fellow citizens while taking action to protect the democratic process and promote social justice.

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