Civic Embassador Program Launches; Engages Students and Residents Throughout the State

Thursday, September 14, 2017

HARTFORD, CT -- The CT Civic Ambassadors Initiative is part of the Connecticut Civic Health Project, which aims at building partnerships and collaboration to strengthen ‘civic health’ in Connecticut.


Secretary of State, Denise Merrill
Everyday Democracy Executive Director, Martha McCoy
(additional speakers below)

WHAT: Press Conference announcing the launch of the CT Civic Ambassador Program. The CT Civic Ambassadors Initiative is part of the Connecticut Civic Health Project, which aims at building partnerships and collaboration to strengthen ‘civic health’ in Connecticut.

WHERE: Legislative Office Building, Room 1B

WHEN: Monday, September 18, 1 pm

WHY: CT Civic Ambassadors will be the messengers of the importance of civic education and engagement by Connecticut residents and the catalysts for civic action that can lead to stronger civic health and REAL socioeconomic benefits, in terms of social capital and community well-being. Speakers will share their experiences of engagement in civic work in their communities, and partners will share how to best access resources.

Speakers include:

  • Denise Merrill, Secretary of State, State of Connecticut
  • Martha McCoy, Executive Director, Everyday Democracy
  • Stephen Armstrong, State of Connecticut Department of Education
  • Richard Frieder, Hartford Decides
  • Dana Miranda,  UConn Initiative on Campus Dialogues
  • Marilyn Calderon, Executive Dir. and Melissa Serrano~Adorno, Parent, CT Parent Power


About the CT Civic Ambassadors Partners:

CT Secretary of State, State Department of Education - Red, White, and Blue Schools Project

Launched in 2016, the Red, White, and Blue Schools Project is a collaboration between the Secretary of State’s office and the State Department of Education. The theme last year was Teaching the 2016 election: schools were recognized for teaching the 2016 election in innovative and multidisciplinary ways. Last year 11 schools and/or districts were officially named as “Red, White, and Blue Schools.” This year’s theme is civic engagement at the local level. Students will be asked to design projects and initiatives that address local issues and concerns. This program will help students develop the critical skills necessary to be effective civic ambassadors. Schools include  E.O. Smith High School, Storrs; Lincoln Memorial Middle School, Meriden; Norwich Free Academy; Tolland High School’ Westhill High School, Stamford; Windsor High School; Enfield High School (Outstanding High School Program); Amity/Regional District #5 (Outstanding 7-12 Program); and South Windsor (Outstanding K-12 Program).

Everyday Democracy:

Founded in 1989, Everyday Democracy is a project of The Paul J. Aicher Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to strengthening deliberative democracy and improving the quality of public life in the United States. Since its inception, Everyday Democracy has worked with more than 600 communities by providing advice, training, tools and resources. It also partners with national and local organizations to strengthen the field of dialogue and deliberation and promote a stronger, more equitable democracy.

Hartford Decides:

Now entering its third year, Hartford Decide$ (HD) is a participatory budgeting (PB) process in which diverse community members (aged 13 and up) decide democratically how to spend part of a public budget on projects that improve their neighborhoods. HD gives the community real power over real money.  First developed in Brazil in 1989, PB is now being used in about twenty cities in the United States.  Hartford is the first Connecticut city to use PB.  Richard Frieder, of Community Capacity Builders, was one of the founders of HD. A civic innovation, HD provides a unique opportunity for ordinary Hartford residents to work with their public officials, one of the important indicators of strong civic health.

UCONN Initiative on Campus Dialogues:
Part of the Humanities Institute at UConn’s Humility & Conviction in Public Life Project, the Initiative on Campus Dialogues (ICD) seeks to bring together research in the humanities with community outreach and engagement. This community-building effort brings together UConn students, staff and faculty, as well as non-university practitioners, around a two-step model focused on dialogue and implementation. ICD’s ultimate goal is to plan and promote productive dialogue over divisive issues in order to create sustainable and infrastructural change, at the university and local level, in the tenor and tone for discussing controversial topics. By creating resources and networks and providing trainings, ICD seeks to build capacity and collaboration for dialogue to be robustly and collectively pursued and promoted within the UConn campus and in its surrounding communities. The initiative builds civic skills and habits for civil dialogue and deliberation on contentious issues.

CT Parent Power:

CT Parent Power builds civic and leadership skills among diverse parents who want to engage and advocate on education issues for their children of multi-age groups through a co-created model of empowerment.   CT Parent Power uses a multigenerational approach to work with Connecticut parents and their children to address “real issues” that families are facing today including social, emotional, educational and economic challenges to realize sustainable change.

CT Kid Governor

Connecticut’s Kid Governor℠ is a national award-winning statewide civics program for 5th graders created by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network (CPAN) in 2015. Timed to coincide with Election Day in November, the program offers each school in Connecticut the opportunity to enter one student candidate into a statewide election that other 5th graders vote in. Classes can vote in the election, nominate a classmate to run for office, or both! This year’s Kid Governor is Jessica Brocksom of Milford.

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