#FutureVoters: Students' Next Finish Line
Students Run LA
The Civics Center (TCC) and Students Run LA (SRLA) will increase voter awareness, registration, and turnout in LA County by leveraging their networks, volunteers, expertise, and resources to expand outreach to highschool students, their teachers and families in predominantly underrepresented Latinx communities. TCC will work with SRLA to create student-led voter registration (VR) drives at SRLA races and SRLA high schools in majority Latinx and other diverse communities to promote civic volunteerism, responsibility and democratic participation.
Please describe the mission of your organization.
The mission of Students Run LA is to challenge underserved secondary students to experience the benefits of goal-setting, character development, adult mentoring and improved health by providing them with a truly life-changing experience: The training for and completion of the Los Angeles Marathon.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- County of Los Angeles
- LAUSD (please select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)
In what stage of innovation is this project?Expand existing program
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
- The Civics Center
- The legal name for Students Run LA is Students Run America. We operate under a dba.
If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.
In addition to training for the Marathon, students participate in SRLA Cares, an initiative that empowers them to give back to their community through social, environmental, and community awareness projects. Each group is encouraged to engage their classmates to maximize their efforts in food drives, holiday toy collections, energy education, and more.
With this infrastructure in place, students have a platform to learn about another way to support their community - voting. As a partner, TCC brings the necessary training and support for students. By collaborating with SRLA, students are introduced to TCC through an organization they trust. TCC can then work with this historically difficult to engage population, ultimately supporting LA2050’s civic engagement goal.
What is the need you’re responding to?
Strong voter participation is essential to a strong democracy, yet only a small fraction of young Angelenos have turned out to vote in recent years. As of February 2020, less than 15% of eligible 16 & 17 year olds in LA County were pre-registered to vote. Once registered, students are more likely to vote and become informed participants in our democracy. Young Latinx voters are one of the fastest growing segments of the electorate but had some of the lowest voter turnout rates in CA in 2018 per the California Civic Engagement Project. TCC, through its student-led VR drives and volunteers, makes it easy and engaging for students to register. Peer-to-peer outreach, instead of a top-down approach, gets better results and also drives TCC’s partnership with SRLA that has built an active, engaged community of youth. TCC seeks to tap into SRLA’s network and to provide resources needed for students to run VR drives in majority Latinx schools to encourage youth participation in our democracy.
Why is this project important to the work of your organization?
The TCC x SRLA partnership will improve LA County youth voter registration and turnout rates by engaging diverse student bodies. TCC uses an effective VR model augmented by the latest technologies that has proven to be efficient and effective. Webinars facilitate the training of student leaders, who in turn engage their peers to register, and text banking encourages election day turnout. Altogether, this outreach encourages students to participate across a geographically dispersed area like LA County.
SRLA’s engaged community of students and teachers is the critical bridge to reaching students, along with their families, in schools in underserved neighborhoods. SRLA has strong relationships in this community and a warm introduction from a trusted partner is valuable, especially in connecting with a Latinx electorate that has historically had low voter participation rates. Once trained, SRLA students can return to their schools to lead VR drives, creating a powerful multiplier effect.
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.
Each year, SRLA’s program includes more than 2,000 high school students (86% Latinx; 75% attend schools where 80% or more receive free/reduced meals; 75% of graduating seniors are among the first-generation of their families to go to college) at 100 high schools and community programs across Greater Los Angeles to train alongside their 550+ teachers to COMPLETE the entire Los Angeles Marathon. Partnering with TCC, SRLA seeks to empower students to hold VR drives in their high schools where they discuss their values, build their capacity to make change, and register themselves and their friends to vote. Together, we can transform youth voting culture from one of apathy to inspired, active engagement this year and for years to come.
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
The program’s overarching goal is to increase participation in democratic institutions by a largely underrepresented electorate - Latinx youth in LA County. By encouraging this engagement, we seek to build an active, civically-minded electorate among the greater Latinx community in historically underrepresented neighborhoods.
Short-term, we seek to grow awareness and participation among Latinx youth. Youth younger than 16 will learn that they can pre-register to vote when they come of age. Youth between 16 and 18 will pre-register to vote while youth who are 18 and older will register to vote. For those old enough to vote on election day, we will also encourage participation in the 2020 election. By expanding voter registration in young voters, we expect that this engagement will further encourage others, especially older family members, to register and participate in elections.
Our metrics for success: 1) Across 3 SRLA events, TCC will: a) Conduct 150 conversations with students and educators about holding voter registration drives at their schools; b) Collect 300 total voter registrations and preregistrations
2) 20 School Leaders will be identified and trained to hold voter registrations
3) 8 SRLA schools will hold voter registration drives, resulting in a) 1,500 total registrations and preregistrations; b) 800 phone numbers collected
4) GOTV texts sent to all 800 (or more) collected phone numbers
5) 50% pre/registration rate for SRLA high school seniors reported in year-end survey, compared to 15% avg. preregistration rate for LA County
Which of the connect metrics will your submission impact?
- Voting rates
Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?
- LA is the best place to LEARN
- LA is the best place to PLAY
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
- Capacity, including staff
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