What's My Civic Responsibility?

9, 10, 11, 12

The learners define and explain the importance of civic engagement and responsible citizenship. They explore the reasons why people may hesitate to become involved in solving problems and consider ways in which they can be "part of the solution" rather than a "part of the problem." 

PrintOne 55-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • determine what it means to be a responsible citizen.
  • determine ways to be a "part of the solution" rather than "part of the problem."
  • YouTube for “Where is the Love?" by the Black-Eyed Peas 
  • What is Civic Action? www.DoSomething.org


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Show the YouTube video of the song "Where is the Love?" by the Black-Eyed Peas. Talk about the problems and solutions the song suggests. Discuss how everyone showing love for others can make a difference. 

  2. Ask the learners whose responsibility it is to address needs in our communities and work toward solutions. Lead the discussion to personal civic virtue in which everyone who is concerned needs to be a part of the solution. 

  3. Discuss the quote, “You either have to be part of the solution, or you're going to be part of the problem” by Eldridge Cleaver. 

  4. Define civic responsibility as “active participation in the public life of a community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner, with a focus on the common good."

  5. Have learners brainstorm issues in their community that affect them and people they care about. Why is it important for the people affected to be part of the solution building? What could be the problem with people outside the problem making solutions? 

  6. People may not be civically engaged because of lack of knowledge, lack of time, not knowing what to do, feeling that they cannot make a difference, mistrust of politicians, and other reasons. What are some arguments to get involved in some way now, even as youth?

  7. Young people use social media to encourage people to be involved in community, sharing from their perspective what responsible citizenship means.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss civic virtue and its role in democracy.
      2. Benchmark HS.8 Explain how a robust civil-society sector supports civil society.
    2. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the community, state or nation, such as petitioning authority, advocating, voting, group problem solving, mock trials or classroom governance and elections.