Our Citizen Redefined Training Program equips adults to provide pathways for young Americans to grow into — and celebrate! — their civic identity.

Fifty-one percent of teens say it’s a bad time to be growing up in America (a dramatic increase over the thirty-one percent who shared that sentiment in 2005). As teens learn about the ideals that define our American experiment, they are more aware than any generation before of how we have failed to live up to the promise of these ideas. Many young people feel powerless when they imagine their role in closing that gap.

Young people need spaces where they can practice the skills required to create an American future that works better for everyone. Community elders must create an environment in which young people can develop powerful civic habits, skills, values, stories, and relationships. If we expect the rising generation to co-create a stronger democratic future, they need the educators in their community to create opportunities for developing their moral compass and embracing their identity as citizens — and they need the support of a trusted adult as they consider, reflect, grapple, and ultimately define citizenship for themselves. And when we say citizenship, we speak of it in a broad, ethical sense of the word. Regardless of birthplace or documentation status, every young person has the power to participate in our shared civic life.

Our Citizen Redefined training is for networks of formal and informal educators across the nation who are ready and eager to offer this civic and moral formation experience to the young people in their communities. The curriculum provides structure, community, and ceremonies to help young people form their civic identity. Citizen Redefined asks each participant to define what citizenship means to them and to take ownership to live it out.

Interested in bringing Citizen Redefined to your community? We’re looking to partner with institutions to provide this experience for the educators in your network.

Learn more & apply →

Why this approach — and why now?

Many young Americans have grown up in a time of decaying faith in democratic norms and institutions — and a crumbling sense of trust in one another. The antidote to feelings of isolation, disheartedness, and anxiety about the state of our country takes more than just knowledge about how a bill becomes a law. It requires a sense of curiosity, mutuality, and willingness to take responsibility. It requires knowing which civic skills can help us navigate these challenges together and an ability to practice them with others. And it requires understanding that we all have power to make change happen and cultivating an attitude that it’s possible to try. When young people participate in the Citizen Redefined curriculum led by a trained adult in their community, they develop and commit to this life-long commitment to living into their identity as citizens.

What is the Citizen Redefined Training Program?

Our training invites adults into a holistic and immersive six-month learning experience, with cohort-based training, direct coaching, and access to an experiential curriculum. The curriculum provides group discussions, creative and kinesthetic exercises, content delivery through audio, visual, and text based resources, and guided self-reflection. Together these dynamic activities help trainees understand the what, why, and how of both civic power and civic character in order to guide young people (ages 14-24) through a journey of self-reflection and skill development.

How do I bring Citizen Redefined to my community?

We partner with host institutions that are seeking to invigorate, inspire, and resource their community of formal and informal educators. Through partnering with Citizen University, your organization can play a crucial role in equipping your adults to support teens with the skills and practices of powerful, responsible citizenship. You become an integral part of building a strong civic culture, nurturing engaged citizens, and contributing to a stronger democracy.

How will we work together?

As a hosting partner, you will recruit and convene a group of adult educators and other community leaders that work with young people as mentors. Host partners take responsibility for meeting logistics and collaborate with CU in bringing the training experience to your group. Our Citizen Redefined team provides curriculum, coaching, ongoing support, and connections with a network of folks trained in Citizen Redefined and implementing it in diverse ways adapted to their context. Together, we can tailor the experience to fit the needs and interests of your community. And we do this free of charge, thanks to the support of our donors.

Who participates in the training?

This extended training experience is designed for educators who regularly work with high-school or early college-aged students, such as teaching artists, librarians, community organizers, peer mentors, coaches, service learning leaders, administrators, camp counselors, and more. We train the kind of people that believe it’s necessary to foster an attitude of possibility and responsibility among their students, and who are ready for more tools and frameworks to help them do just that. Trainees commit to a six month cycle of in-person and online learning, connection, practice, and planning.

What is the impact of Citizen Redefined?

When young people go through the Citizen Redefined curriculum, they deepen their relationship to themselves and become more connected to the world around them. We see them understanding what matters most to them, taking action and joining established efforts to create change in the direction of their values, and embodying powerful, responsible citizenship in their day to day lives. When you bring the Citizen Redefined training to your network, you empower the trusted adults in your community to anchor teens as they craft an understanding of the role they have to play — now and for the rest of their lives.

I am so glad that I pushed myself to participate… I am so grateful for what this cohort has given and inspired to be part of this community of thoughtful citizens.

Kyle M. Citizen Redefined Educator

Training Timeline

Convene your cohort

You’ll gather your network of educators and kick off this shared learning experience. Citizen University will host a series of virtual meetings designed to set context, explore foundational concepts, and foster meaningful connections to this group experience.

Our team comes to town

The Citizen Redefined team will travel to a location of your choosing and facilitate an immersive, transformative experience for your educators. Trainees will explore and practice the curriculum, develop vital civic skills, and connect with peers to create a powerful and intentional civic community. Training intensives can be designed collaboratively to meet the needs of each specific group. Here’s the best part: Citizen Redefined trainings culminate in a civic celebration that welcomes young people into civic adulthood — we call this Civic Confirmation! Trainees will experience this ceremony for themselves in-person before planning to bring it back home to their learning community.

Implement and celebrate

Following the in person experience, trainees will go on to lead Citizen Redefined activities with the young people they regularly work with. Over the next six months, Citizen University will continue to provide coaching, collaborative problem solving, and the opportunity for connection with others.

Join a nationwide network

After each cohort’s six-month learning experience has ended, they will be welcomed into CU’s community of other civic catalysts and be invited to many opportunities for ongoing connection, workshops, skill building, collaboration, gathering, and more.

Interested in bringing Citizen Redefined to your community? We’re looking to partner with institutions to provide this experience for the educators in your network.

Learn more & apply →

Redefining with Creativity

Educators across the nation are integrating the Citizen Redefined curriculum into their activities with young people.

Integrating with a High School Curriculum

Kyle, a passionate high school teacher, takes civic education to the next level by integrating the Citizen Redefined curriculum into his social studies class. By infusing the curriculum twice a week, Kyle creates opportunities for his students to reflect on their responsibilities towards society, fostering a deeper connection between classroom learning and real-world citizenship.

Bringing Civic Learning to a Faith Group

Noreen, one of our dedicated mentors, integrates sessions on developing personal morals into a summer camp organized by her faith community. By incorporating the Citizen Redefined curriculum, she supports the camp’s offerings, providing young people with a holistic understanding of citizenship within the context of their faith.

Adding Character to Civics Education

Adrian, leading an organization committed to closing disparities in civic education, recognizes the value of incorporating the Citizen Redefined curriculum. Through a virtual summit for their student leaders, Adrian’s organization leverages the curriculum to enhance their work and provide character development opportunities alongside traditional civics education.

Today, I make the commitment to show up when I am needed and I commit to being a part of the solution, I commit to making MY community a place where others feel proud to call HOME.

Katie G. Citizen Redefined Educator