Youth Leadership Initiative

The Youth Leadership Initiative at the University of Virginia Center for Politics is dedicated to increasing civic engagement by providing teachers with the best civics education materials and programs. Research shows that quality civics education programs are essential to creating lifelong citizenship and YLI programs empower students to take responsibility for our democracy. YLI believes that, “Politics is a Good Thing!”

Featured Resources

Constitutional Compromise Game

The Constitutional Compromise Game was designed specifically for teachers who don’t know what to do on Constitution Day. The game combines the skills of discourse, debate and compromise that were essential to the creation of the Constitution. Students work independently and in groups to solve Constitutional challenges and ratify the Constitution. This is a great activity for teachers who do not teach government or civics but need to satisfy the Constitution Day requirement.

Constitution Day: Lunch with James Madison

This twenty-six minute film features seven high school and middle school aged students sharing lunch and discussing the Constitution with President James Madison. YLI went back to fall of 1814- just after the end of the War of 1812 to question the fourth president about constitutional challenges that faced his presidency. Lunch consisted of period dishes that would have been served at Montpelier, home of the Madisons.

The 2016 National Mock Election

Each year, YLI conducts the largest secure, student only, online mock election in the U.S. using ballots tailored to each student’s home legislative district. The 2016 National Mock Election will run October 17 -28th. YLI also hosts My Mock Election throughout the year and has the ability to host state and international elections.

The YLI E-Congress Legislative Simulation

Looking for an interactive way to teach about the legislative branch? The Youth Leadership Initiative’s E-Congress program allows students to learn about Congress by writing original legislation and following it through the lawmaking process.

Democracy Corps: A Complete Service Learning Program

Learn about American democracy while serving your community. Serve your community while learning about the responsibilities of American democracy. YLI’s Democracy Corps brings your civics lessons to the community while instilling life- long civic engagement in your students.

Debate Watching Guide

This lesson is designed to help students view political debates. The resources provided support the critical evaluation of the candidate’s performances. Body language, demeanor, appearance and positions on key issues are analyzed in an attempt to help students determine the importance of debates to the election cycle. This lesson could be used in class or as a homework assignment.