On October 19, 2017, members of Civic Paths joined Professors Anne Crigler and Tom Goodnight and their students at the University of Southern California to facilitate a Civic Imagination Workshop at the Penny Harvest Leadership Academy. Over two hours, Civic Paths facilitators led more than eighty 3rd to 6th graders from public schools in the Los Angeles area through a civic imagination world building workshop that invited them to imagine a future aspirational world.
The students began by brainstorming what that world would look like, in terms of issues and topics that touched their everyday lives. The students talked about topics that included:
transportation (they wouldn’t have to walk as much, there would be lots of buses so you won’t have to wait so long, teleportation so no traffic jams)
health (medicine would be free, they would have access to a doctor)
food (healthy food and veggies would taste as good as candy, lunch lines in the cafeteria would
family (lots of people would live together)
schools (no homework, no more formal classes)
The students then worked in smaller groups to develop fantastical stories that narrated how these fantastical future worlds came to be. Over the next hour and half, flying shoes created by an all girls-start up company, crowd-funded robots that served food efficiently, and healthy candy homes that compromised nothing on taste filled the space.
In the final moments of the workshop, the students reflected on how change can happen in their communities, what challenges may come up, and the role they, as young people, can play.