Every year, thousands of students and teachers from schools nationwide attend our civic ed programs in Washington to get a “close up” view of government and experience democracy in action. Under our guidance, they complete a demanding but fun series of modules and learn that their voices matter in solving today’s issues. Students dialog with lawmakers, media, and fellow students – using our nation’s capital as a living classroom. They return to their communities inspired to engage as citizens and to help make the world a better place.
For four decades, we have inspired students from all walks of life to become informed and active citizens. Every person in the Close Up family is dedicated to this noble purpose. This includes our staff, our Boards, our national network of dedicated teachers, our over 825,000 alumni, and our partners and funders such as the U.S. Congress, the Department of Education, the Department of Interior, the Freedom Forum, C-SPAN, the Center on Congress and Bank of America.
Our students and teachers are a diverse group – coming from every state and territory and several other countries. They hail from a variety of ethnic, cultural, racial and economic backgrounds. This diversity greatly enhances the learning that takes place on our programs.
For democracy to flourish, all young people must learn why and how to engage as citizens. Thus, we serve students regardless of background, ability to pay, grade point average and leadership potential. To achieve this, we offer an array of programs that complement what is taught in schools plus a student-centric teaching method that has broad appeal. We also nurture partnerships with private and public institutions (e.g., Congress) that fund scholarships. And, we deeply appreciate the efforts of dedicated teachers, parents and students who fundraise annually so that their schools can participate with us.
Completing a Close Up program is the experience of a lifetime. I should know, having participated on the first program in 1971. It changed my life, setting me on a course that took me from a presidential campaign to the White House, to law school, to work in legislative affairs as an attorney, and then as an executive for a Fortune 500 company. Now, I’ve come full circle back to Close Up to ensure that new generations of young people have the same opportunity I did.
I encourage you to attend Close Up this year and be part of democracy in action. Thousands of teachers and students such as yourselves will be here, many of whom will “live and learn” with you on program. I’m confident you will find this to be an experience of a lifetime.
Timothy S. Davis
Close Up Alum ‘71