Malden High freshman students presenting their projects. Photo by Courtney Fitzgerald.
It’s that time of year again, Generation Citizen is back at Malden High and history classes of all levels are coming up with issues they want to put forth to represent them on Civics Day.
Generation Citizen was originally founded at Brown University by two students, Anna Ninan and Scott Warren in 2008, when the two of them along with eight other Brown students began to teach civics education in Providence, Rhode Island classrooms.
By February 2010, Generation Citizen became an official non-profit organization. Over the years, GC rapidly grew and began to win awards, reach out to more students and even expand into New York City, Boston, Oklahoma, central Texas and the Bay Area.
In early June, 2014, GC launched a four-year strategic plan in which focused on delivering high impact action  civics education through local hubs, buildings, demand for action, civics nationally, and building organizational infrastructure and capacity.” GC also began a Teens on Board Campaign that was successful in late August, 2014, lowering the age that someone could sit on the New York City Community boards form 18 to 16.
Each year, students gather to showcase their action civics projects on issues affecting their community to local officials and community leaders at a convention GC calls “Civics Day.”
Malden High is having a pre-Civics Day on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, were all the classes are going to present what work they have gathered so far with each other and see if any groups can work together, or if they can plan to speak to contact the same officials, in order to complete their goal. The actual Civics Day is on May 29, 2019 and our school along with many more around the area will go out to Boston and present their work to a panel of judges. The judging panel go over the issues root causes and if the students action plan would be effective for their goal. This day serves as a opportunity for students, from all over, to take pride in their projects and advocate for their issues to a local audience, this not only allows students to hopefully solve their issues by reaching their goals, but also gather feedback from the judges to improve their idea, as well as for guest at the event and government leaders to recognize what youth-led change is and the commitment of students to generate change where they live.
Malden has had success with Generation Citizen in the past. The teen enrichment center was originally put in place to battle gang violence in Malden. But it didn’t even start with the teen center itself, originally it was a day at the YMCA where kids could go after school and play organized games and hang out with their friends. The intention was to keep kids out of the streets and away from violence. But with help from the Malden Task Force, a group of student and adults,who came up with serves to ask the students at Malden high what they felt like they wanted from the days at YMCA. But the serves revealed that kids wanted a free place to do homework, make friends, and play games. With more serves that came up with times and days it would be open. The teen center was open and not only to students at Malden High but students all over Malden regardless to what school they would go to.
Heather Filer, a history teacher here at Malden High,had been in contact with Generation Citizen (GC) throughout the recent events leading to the Local Civics Day.
“Civics Day was very successful” stated Lynn-Sarah Georges, whose GC project was on sex trafficking. Georges' project is still an ongoing project but so far “the outcome has been very positive.” GC was a chance for Georges to get helpful feedback, and support from the representatives they pitched their idea to. With the outcome of her project being so positive Georges stated that “[She] would like to work on [her] project to still have an impact on the Malden community and possibly even globally.” Seeing as sex trafficking is a serious and important topic Georges hopes to get “people to be informed about [her] project and consider spreading the word and encouraging people to take action.” Georges hopes for Civics Day was to “get contacts and further information on how to approach the next steps in [their] project.”