Civic Engagement

Civic engagement is important to the health of a democratic nation. Well-functioning democracies are highly dependent on active participation of their citizens. The Civic Health Index provides five categories to measure civic health:

  • social connection,
  • political action,
  • belonging to a group,
  • volunteering and service, and
  • working with neighbors

The Civic Health Index emphasizes the mutually reinforcing nature of these activities – participation in one makes it more likely that an individual will participate in others.

Civic engagement programs for young people vary dramatically in their size, shapes, intensities, types of services, and the goals they are trying to achieve. Some are focused primarily on building skills to help youth engage in the future, some provide opportunities for youth to volunteer, others combine skill-building and participation, some focus on helping youth connect to their community in positive ways, and others take a youth organizing approach. 

Organisations such as the National Secondary Students' Council and the National Youth Council of Jamaica provide opportunites for civic engagement. There are also community clubs and other voluntary groups that youth should consider joining, in order to build social connections.