iCivics, a civic education provider, has launched a summer initiative to engage students and their families in learning important civics skills at home – while also helping to make donations to national and global charities that are working every day to address urgent public needs like healthcare access, food security, racial inequality and youth engagement programs during the COVID-19 pandemic and time of civil unrest.
The Impact Points Challenge encourages students to play iCivics games throughout the summer. As they play the games, they can earn points – and then allocate earned points to charities from different sectors. Every two weeks, iCivics will tally the total number of points that each charity earns, and along with its partners make prorated donations to the charities that receive the most points from players.
The challenge will focus on charities from different sectors that have become increasingly more important during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as civil unrest has spread throughout the country in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. The challenge will be divided into separate two-week challenges, during which students will be able to donate points to a different set of charities. During the first two-week challenge, students can donate points to the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, Direct Relief, or Partners In Health.
Here’s more about these charities:
- National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics addresses the needs of America’s medically underserved and more than 1,400 free and charitable clinics that serve them. Their members’ COVID-19 response efforts include providing patients with vital medication and food, developing telehealth programs, doing COVID-19 screening and testing, and keeping patients healthy and out of emergency departments.
- Direct Relief is an aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. They are getting protective gear and critical care medications to as many health workers as possible, with emergency deliveries leaving daily for medical facilities nationwide.
- Partners In Health is a global healthcare nonprofit organization. It is leveraging its deep experience in treating infectious disease outbreaks and responding to emergencies worldwide to help protect patients, communities and staff against COVID-19 through the initiation of safe testing, triage and isolation at PIH-supported health facilities.
New organizations will be announced before the start of each two-week challenge.
Students and their families can play for free at: icivics.org/impact. iCivics is also offering free discussion guides that support family conversations about the importance of community engagement, giving and the role of government during COVID-19 and other crises.
“The protests across our nation and the COVID-19 pandemic are challenging us to find solutions and seek a collective path forward. Civic engagement is a necessary component of those solutions. Young people have a lot to say about the social problems in our country,” iCivics Executive Director Louise Dubé says. “We want them to join the impact points challenge to get informed about how to solve civic problems and help nonprofits address real world issues at the same time.”
Since it was founded in 2009 by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics has created 20 digital games and hundreds of digital resources that teach every aspect of civic life and engagement, from presidential elections to media literacy to the workings of local and county governments. All of the material is completely free and nonpartisan. The games are played by more than 7.1 million students every year and used by more than 113,000 teachers nationwide.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, closing schools everywhere, iCivics launched a Remote Learning Toolkit that offered customized resources and support for teachers and families. The Impact Points Challenge is the continuation of that effort to make civic learning accessible at home – and to help fill the gap as summer camps, activities, and outdoor recreation sites are likely cancelled or curtailed across the country this summer.