Close Up Foundation

Close Up Foundation

The mission of the non-profit, non-partisan Close Up Foundation is to inform, inspire and empower young people to understand and embrace the rights and responsibilities of active citizenship. Close Up is the only civic education program that serves every segment of society, actively seeking to provide opportunities for high school and middle school students regardless of their socio-economic levels or prior academic success. Since 1971, Close Up has served more than 900,000 students and teachers from across the country.

Close Up’s Washington-based programs offer intense, transformative, and skills-building experiences that give students the opportunity to discuss and debate current issues with peers, interact with leading policy experts and Members of Congress, and participate in legislative simulations.

Using the nation’s capital as a living classroom, students learn and practice the habits of active citizenship, with an emphasis on how to articulate their own viewpoints and to listen with respect and tolerance to those of others. Programs include introductory activities; thematic memorial and monument study visits; issue-based workshops; domestic policy debates; legislative simulations; seminars and onsite visits to government agencies, NGOs, and embassies; and cultural explorations. Simultaneously, teachers can participate in a separate professional development program that offers the opportunity to share best practices with colleagues, collaborate on lesson plan development, and gather valuable educational resources to use in their classrooms.

Additionally, Close Up conducts numerous programs for specialized constituencies, including newly immigrated and migrant youth, Native Americans, young Latino leaders, Pacific Islanders, children of military families, and others. Close Up also offers locally-based programs across the country designed to help participants understand local and state government. These programs include opportunities for students to practice citizenship skills and to develop solutions to local issues concerning their schools and communities.

Close Up has a proven track record of providing high quality programs to build a new generation of civically-engaged citizens. Our programs have tremendous positive impact on participants in the areas of political efficacy, political knowledge, and skills-building to carry out civic-related activities. A 2017-18 post-program participant survey shows the effectiveness of our programs.

Among teachers:
• 93% reported the Close Up program helped their students learn skills and strategies to become active citizens.
• 94% reported the Close Up program helped their students understand their role in a democracy.
• 96% reported Close Up’s professional development on teaching current issues provided great strategies and resources for the classroom.

Among students:
• 95% reported Close Up helped them better understand current political issues.
• 94% reported Close Up helped them understand that other students had ideas different from their own.

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