Civic Leadership Foundation

Empowering Young People to Lead

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Program and Assessment Tools

"The program offered through CLF has been an amazing experience. Our students are learning to effectively work together for a common purpose, resolve conflict independently, and appreciate the importance of taking ownership of one's community."

- Janaé Denton, Program Coordinator "I Have A Dream" Foundation, North Chicago


CLF's Civic Leadership Education is a comprehensive, project-based program designed to empower young people toward a deeper sense of responsibility for self and to community, and to prepare them for work and life.

The program's learning objectives, which are aligned with Common Core Standards, include increasing abilities to think, listen and speak critically, collaborate, communicate persuasively, envision, plan, problem-solve, take risks and evaluate.  Additionally, the program has been shown to increase self-esteem and increase interest in education and leadership opportunities.

Civic Leadership Education

Based on our focus on periods of transition as providing substantial opportunities for change and impact, we offer:

Programs for High School Readiness

  • A Program for High School Readiness is intended for use with middle school youth preparing to enter high school, and for students at the beginning of their high school journey. This forty hour guide is designed to foster high school readiness and retention, emphasizing 21st century skills and career preparation. The program includes the three phases of Civic Leadership Education: building relationships and skills through ethical centeredness, developing and implementing a Civic Leadership Project, and supporting participants as they reflect on their experiences and prepare to make a successful transition to high school.
  • A Program for High School Readiness: 6th Grade Focus is intended for use with early middle school youth as they prepare for the transition to later middle school and high school.

Programs for College Readiness

  • A Program for College and Career Readiness is intended for use with high school youth preparing to leave high school and enter college or the workplace. This 40-hour guide helps high school students understand and practice skills needed for the social, academic, and workplace rigors they will experience in college and in their careers.
    The College and Career Readiness Program is sponsored in part by the Robert T. Keeler Foundation and the MDRT Foundation.

Programs for Work Readiness

  • Youth Working for Success, originally designed for a City of Chicago project targeting at-risk youth, is intended for use by youth social service organizations.  The guide offers two phases focused on relationship and skill building and the development of a group project designed to benefit the community, and a third phase designed to support youth in work placements.
  • A Program for Work Readiness was designed for the City of Chicago’s One Summer Chicago Plus program to guide youth in the development and practice of 21st century work skills, including collaboration, communication, problem-solving, and personal accountability, as well as supporting work placements. The program includes a youth-led, work-oriented civic leadership project, and the final phase supports youth in developing post-program goals and plans.

Programs for Justice Involved or At-Risk Youth

  • A Project-Based Curriculum for Juvenile Justice System-Involved Youth was designed for a groundbreaking, collaborative effort with Chicago's Juvenile Intervention and Support Center, the Mayor's Office, Chicago's Department of Family and Support Services, and the University of Chicago Crime Lab, with a goal of successfully transitioning court-involved youth out of the juvenile justice system. The guide’s first two phases focus on cohort and skill building, as the youth conceive and develop a project to benefit the community.  The third phase focuses on individual goal setting and transition preparation.

One-Year Program Guide

  • One-Year Program Guide is intended for use in schools over the course of an academic year.  The guide offers one hundred and forty hours of lessons divided into the three phases of Civic Leadership Education -- Ethical Centeredness through Cohort Development; Empowerment through Entreprenuership; and Civic Leadership through Project Development.  The program culminates in students presenting their ideas for individual civic leadership projects designed to benefit the community.

Access the Guides Below

Our Program Guides are currently only available to CLF Partners, but please view our sample lessons below. If you are interested in becoming a partner, please Contact the Civic Leadership Foundation to learn more.

Partners, please enter the password to download the files.

Get a Sample