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Youth Stand Up

Youth Stand Up

Target Audience: Students and teachers, grades 7-9
Subjects/Skills: Civics

Youth Stand Up is a student-led civic action project that demystifies the process of civic engagement and teaches students the skills needed to carry out a community-based civic action plan. Several states, including Massachusetts, have mandated that civic action programs be included in civics education; national leaders in/drivers of social studies education and curriculum, like NCSS and the C3 Framework for Social Studies, emphasize active, civic participation; and the recent Educating for American Democracy initiative is founded on an inquiry-based civic education framework. Yet, social studies educators feel they’ve been issued an important mandate but have not been provided the curriculum materials needed to carry it out. Youth Stand Up meets that need.

Designed for students in grades 7-9, Youth Stand Up leverages public media’s strength to engage and empower emerging student citizens to effect positive change in their communities. Specifically, Youth Stand Up aims to support students in building state and national standards-aligned civics content knowledge; developing and practicing civic and media literacy skills; and developing civic dispositions and sense of self-efficacy.

Key features of the digital initiative include:

  • Original videos of young civic leaders, past and present, who detail their own journeys providing inspiration and practical “road maps”
  • A five-step curriculum, built on the Interactive Lesson platform, to equip students with the skills and scaffolding needed to envision, research, plan, and execute a civic action project
  • An annual civic project pitch competition designed to encourage students to pursue their civic action project further and “take it to the next level” for greater impact

We worked closely with educators and students to design and iteratively develop Youth Stand Up. We conducted focus groups with almost a hundred students to shape Youth Stand Up including the logo, brand palette, subject matter, and video styles. We also piloted the program with partner public schools.


As of February 2023, the Youth Stand Up collection has been visited by over 6,000 users and has over 14,000 video plays. Preliminary research has found statistically significant increases in students’ civic efficacy and planned future civic participation after completing the program. As one student noted,

it has shown me how much I can do as a young person and how much of an impact I can have.