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connect / 2020

Novelly Leadership Academy

Novelly Leadership Academy

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Novelly

We released Novelly, our mobile reading app that doubles as civics education for 8th-10th grade students. We use relatable and engaging young adult (YA) fiction as the foundation for civic discussion with youth on social issues. We're expanding the Novelly Leadership Academy, an online 8-week training for students who want to conduct workshops with their peers using the Novelly app in their schools and communities. In the 2020-2021 academic year, we will train 100 high school students who will reach 2,000 youth across Los Angeles County.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

To solve the most complex and pressing issues of the 21st century, young people need the skills, knowledge, and motivation to not only identify issues in their communities but also to solve them through civic action. However, only nine states and the District of Columbia require one year of U.S. government or civics. State civics curricula are heavy on knowledge and facts but light on building skills and agency for civic engagement. And it shows - 23% of 8th graders in the United States are proficient in civics and this is even lower among low-income and minority youth. This creates a civic engagement gap where youth become less visible and less heard as citizens than other demographics and therefore easier to ignore by their decision-makers, resulting in long-term and far-reaching effects on equity in communities. in the United States.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

Our staff is equipped to create high-quality civic education experiences for youth. I (CEO) have worked for 6 years in youth development and have extensive classroom experience teaching YA for social change with students. Janae Phillips (Director of Education) was the Education Director at the Harry Potter Alliance, the original non-profit using literature to civically empower youth. Amanda Beadlescomb (Director of Content and Communications) has uniquely worked in the world of publishing, branding, marketing, and startups. Abhishek Bhaduri (Product Manager) is a digital product manager at Capital One. Our Youth Designers are made up of 5 middle and high school students who work with us for the academic year who test and inform our app, curriculum, and programming. Our assets are our community: Our app users include 300 teachers and students in the LA. Our social media following includes 1,120 Instagram followers. Our community of educators includes 800 newsletter subscribers.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

Direct impact
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Civic education and engagement among teenagers are associated with a wide range of positive outcomes. According to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, adolescents who are civically engaged are more likely to have better health, better grades, graduate high school and attend college. Although a complex array of factors influence high school graduation rates, civic education is strongly associated with high school completion, translating into $376,000 more earned income over their lifetimes. Beyond the benefits to individual youth, there is the far-reaching and long-term positive impact on the vibrancy, responsiveness, and equity within their communities.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Our vision for success is that 100 students in Los Angeles County are empowered to deliver Novelly workshops using the Novelly reading app and facilitation guide with their peers. They will become confident in their ability to facilitate and moderate high-quality civic discussions. These students will reach at least 2,000 students in their schools and communities through these workshops.

We will use the following metrics: Program Completion Rate - 80% of students complete the program. Pre & Post-Survey Results - 75% of students see an average increase in their Likert Scale scores for the following areas: dialogue, values, social justice, and storytelling. They should be able to identify with the following statements: (1) “I feel confident in my understanding of civic dialogue and my ability to facilitate it.” (2) “I feel confident identifying my values and the values of others, and how they inform our beliefs.” (3) “I understand the systems of privilege and oppression.” (4) “I feel confident in my storytelling abilities.” Starting a Workshop - 50% of students start a workshop within 6 months of completing the program Starting a Novelly Chapter - 20% of student start a Novelly Chapter within 12 months of completing the program

Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Social and emotional support
  • Volunteerism
  • Voting rates

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to LEARN

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support
  • Office space for meetings, events, or for staff
  • Strategy assistance and implementation