Active Citizenship Initiative

Since 2007, Active Citizenship Initiative, or ACI for short, has worked with over 300 civic classes to get youth involved in creating positive long-term change in their communities.

Each year, Youth Ottawa works with youth on hundreds of civic-action projects. And while we work predominantly with civics classes to implement the “Active Citizenship” curricular strand, we also have worked with other courses in the past, from Environmental Science to Grade 9, 10, and 12 Religion Classes, as well as a range of extracurricular clubs and after school programs, both within and outside of schools.

Our approach is simple: let them do something about something for their community. Whether it’s the cost of a bus pass, or lack of employment, our facilitators introduce youth to civic tactics, strategies and opportunities that develop the skills and knowledge needed for youth to become democratically driven citizens.

two people talking

Worked with over 1,400 youth in 2020


of youth reported increased collaboration skills.


of youth learned tools for civic action.


of youth reported more likely to challenge.


of youth reported increased self-efficiency.


Check out our 2019 Active Citizenship Initiative Report

How it Works

Youth Action Facilitators run an eight visit program designed to help youth engage meaningfully in issues that matter to them. This program is broken into three main parts:

Unit 1

Introduces youth to active and engaged citizenship, allows them to choose an issue to work on together, and channels their creativity by brainstorming potential solutions;

Unit 2

Allows youth to develop an “Action Plan” – a series of interconnected activities intended to have a positive impact on the community by making use of civic “tactics” like petitions, surveys, lobbying, etc.;

Unit 3

Youth initiate their Action Plans – actually “do” what they imagine – and learn from the experience.

Through our ACI Program we hope to inspire youth to be increasingly and meaningfully engaged in their community.

A full copy of our resource guide – including lesson plans, activity sheets, a civic “tactics toolkit”, and evaluation options for teachers – can be requested by contacting our ACI Program Coordinator.

“…Thank you for the role you played in getting the imitative started. I thought you might want to hear about how you helped my students to really shine and to make a difference within our broader school community.” – Kathy (teacher)

0 50
youth reached, in schools and in the community.
young adults trained to act as facilitators for the program.
0 %
of teachers reported an increase in students knowledge of strategies for civic action
0 %
of youth increased collaboration skills
0 %
of teachers reported an increase in the ability to identify the root causes

Stories from the classroom

Below we share case studies from our work within the classroom. Read more to see how we engaged civics students to take action at the local level to combat issues that are important to them.

Download are printable one-pager!

Every can provide staff

facilitators to support independent youth-led projects geared towards civic engagement and advocacy.

Community supporting youth

Support youth-led engagement projects like Mural.


Emma Buchanan (she/her)

Youth Civic Engagement Lead