Civic Engagement Challenge
Project Leader: Audrey Menard
Biblioburro aims to get young children in East Lake excited about reading and writing their own stories through a mobile library/neighborhood art-cart. It is inspired by the work of Luis Soriano, a Colombian librarian with the same passion for education and community involvement. The Biblioburro will be designed and created by the very same parents and children who will use it as it travels around the East Lake neighborhood. Filled with new, high quality books and stories with diverse characters in both English and Spanish, the Biblioburro will help the children of East Lake learn how to read and how to find their own creative solutions to the neighborhood’s needs.
Project Leaders: Mario Brooks, Caleb Thomas, Cierra McCurtry, and Ben Banks
This series of brunches aims to inspire marginalized communities to take small but powerful actions, and to engage with what is going on outside of their bubbles. At the end of each Bubble Brunch, guests will leave with an idea for a community service project to implement within 3 weeks. They will leave with new contacts within their own communities, along with contacts from the broader community, that they will immediately rely on to accomplish their service project. They will create unity with communities that are not their own through acts of service for one another.
Designed to Win
Project Leader: Dennis Clark
In Spring 2018, all county, state, congressional, state governor and one senate seat will be up for reelection. This group hopes to equip the “underdog” candidates who may not have a lot of funding, or marketing expertise to run their campaign. Through a branding and design bootcamp, they will recruit and support talented and eager young people to run for office. The bootcamp sessions will teach potential candidates how to use design elements to reach voters and win their campaigns. After the workshop, this team will issue a free "Design Starter Kit" to each participant which will include templates for a yard signs, implementation and activation of social media accounts, a professional headshot and one press release announcing the candidate's candidacy.
Engage: Social Workers for Voter Empowerment
Project Leader: Carolita Claus
This team of students from the Social Work program at Southern Adventist University believes that voting can be an important indicator of community health, well-being, and empowerment. They know that social workers are in a unique position to empower people who often feel unheard to get involved through voting. They will be working with the faculty to add information into the Social Work program’s curriculum to empower social workers to encourage voting in the communities where they work. Once taught, students will be provided with a downloadable toolkit to train their internship agencies on voter engagement. After piloting the program, they will create a resource toolkit for other universities, agencies, and programs to replicate the strategy.
Get to Know CHA
Project Leader: Mary Stargel
Get to Know CHA is an informative series of resources that brings together people who are new to Chattanooga and people who have lived here for a long time. Through neighborhood-specific guides and a podcast, Get to Know CHA provides ways to learn about where you live, and how to get involved and connected. The guides will be neighborhood-specific, and provide information that residents of each neighborhood identify as a need. The podcasts will feature one new resident & one established resident sharing different points-of-view on their experiences living there. They hope to strengthen the social fabric of changing neighborhoods in our city.
Project Leaders: Kaitti Johnson and Alison Anderson
Kidizen Cadets will empower children to participate early and often in the civic lives of their school and community. Through creative thinking, imaginative problem-solving, and child-led hands-on projects, this after-school program will give young citizens the information, skills, and experience needed to jumpstart their futures as community advocates. Kidizen Cadets aims to encourage young students to get involved in their communities in a capacity that excites them and empowers them to continue investing and giving back not just for a season, but for a lifetime.
Project Leader: Kelley Elliott
Tennessee ranks 50th in voter turnout, and 40th in registration. For the first time, Tennesseans will soon be able to register to vote online. This team is organizing a bipartisan campaign to increase the civic participation of groups who are currently under-represented, like minorities, women, and people under 30. The team will work with existing organizations and event organizers locally, empowering them with tools to reach their own audiences. They aim to register over 1000 new, local voters this fall.
Restoring Voting Rights
Project Leader: Aggie Toppins
Across the nation, people who are convicted of a felony also lose their right to vote. Tennessee ranks 6th in the nation in disenfranchised citizens, in-part because the process to restore voting rights can be complex and intimidating. Inspired by CUP’s Making Policy Public program, this team will use design to demystify the complex process of getting your voting rights restored, with a printed guide that folds out into a poster. They will partner with local leaders and organizations to get this helpful tool into the hands of people who are seeking to rebuild their lives as contributing members of our community.
Rossville Civic Pipeline
Project Leader: Sally Morrow and Elizabeth Wells
Disinvestment in Rossville has been pervasive since the closure of its largest employer in 1961. This team wants to begin building the next generation of civically-minded leaders through the process of creating and implementing Rossville’s first-ever murals. Students from Ridgeland High School will work with local artists on three large outdoor murals to be displayed in Rossville’s downtown area. They will learn about the effects of public art on community engagement through playing an active role in the process of getting the murals planned, designed, and implemented. As a long-term goal, they hope that highlighting buildings in need of improvement with visual art, will begin to spark positive investment by property owners.
Which Candidate Are You Quiz
Project Leader: Melody Shekari
It can be hard to keep tabs on who is running for local political offices, and even harder to get a clear sense of their goals. People who have held office before have a track record to point to, but it is nearly impossible to know how closely a new candidate aligns with your personal values. This interactive quiz aims to make it simple and personal for all citizens to be informed local voters. During local elections, participants will answer a series of questions that will reveal which candidate best-aligns with their personal values and political opinions. Increasing interest in local government through this personalized and easily-shareable online quiz can result in higher voter turnout, with a big impact on our city.
Young Women Running, Winning, and Holding Office Workshop
Project Leader: April Goebeler
In high school, boys and girls report almost equal interest in politics. The gender gap increases in college, as men’s political ambition grows, while women’s fades. In Hamilton County, women represent 52% of the population, but less than 20% of the elected voice. In partnership with the League of Women Voters in Chattanooga, this project will provide a nonpartisan program for female high school students to learn about what it takes to be a political leader and how they can serve their communities and be a voice for all women by joining the conversation and taking the lead.