Great minds from Plato to Piaget have recognized the importance of play in healthy child development, but with bullying becoming more prevalent on school playgrounds and increased pressure to maximize school hours to boost performance on standardized tests, schools are struggling to implement meaningful recess. Playworks and other similar non-profit groups provide coaching for adults on how to help structure children's playtime to be healthy, productive, and enjoyable, while allowing children to explore on their own and develop positive relationships.Read More
Boston had a hard time solving civic problems efficiently and holding its leadership accountable. In response, a team in the Mayor's office was charged with "making Boston better through clever, low-cost hacks" such as a mobile app that allows residents to send government service requests to City Hall.Read More
Very few people go to city council meetings. MindMixer, a tech startup company, increased civic participation in states across the U.S. with online platforms for city officials and the community to discuss ideas.Read More
Tulsa Public Schools drew on expertise across many sectors and extensive neighborhood input to address the issue of thousands of empty seats in local schools. Through a community-focused process, they were able to mindfully close under-utilized schools and better maximize the community's resources for students.Read More
The ability of social media and online civic participation to impact law and politics is still developing, but one social media tool - Friendfactor - was used successfully in New York to help bring about the passage of Gay Marriage Equality. It may be an indicator for how powerful platforms like this one will continue to play a role in societal growth and change.Read More
Hawaii private school students were taught about ecological sustainability, but public school students were not. After losing a school essay contest about sustainability, a high school student convinced Hawaii’s legislature to pass a resolution requiring that every student learn the meaning of the concept. Due to this student’s advocacy, the state is also piloting a program to install solar panels on its public schools to teach children how to be more self-sustaining.Read More
Retreat programs can improve self-awareness and understanding of others. The Center for Courage & Renewal creates safe environments for people to speak honestly with each other, something Parker J. Palmer says is needed to de-polarize society.Read More
The Center for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies provides a "blueprint" for peaceful and democratic revolution, busting myths about the process of nonviolent revolt and helping dissidents in countries around the world to accomplish political goals, such as fighting corruption or protecting the environment.Read More
Despite strong evidence that school-based physical activity improves children’s cognitive skills, concentration, and behavior, schools under pressure to produce quantitative results and decrease bullying have drastically cut back on recess in recent years. An Oakland-based nonprofit organization called Playworks is working to make healthy play accessible for more children and show schools how productive recess can be to the whole academic world.Read More
Global social and economic problems are difficult to change. However, fan-activism fuels the interests of fans of popular young adult fiction. Books such as Harry Potter and the Hunger Games have inspired activist groups that raise awareness of global hunger, reading, and relief supplies to impoverished nations, among others. Being a fan has served as a bridge to become politically active and solve the world’s problems.Read More
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