We make voting easier through varied voter education programs.
The League of Women Voters conducts voter service and citizen education activities. It is a nonpartisan nonprofit public policy educational organization, which:
- Builds citizen participation in the democratic process.
- Studies key community issues at all government levels in an unbiased manner.
- Enables people to seek positive solutions to public policy issues through education and conflict management.
The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh is designated by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All payments are fully tax-deductible for Federal Income Tax purposes.
High School Project:
Amy Kleissas, Chair
The High School Initiative began three years ago with a League of Women Voters Education Fund grant which had the goal of reaching underserved high school students. The original committee modified a LWV member-created, college level PowerPoint entitled “Voting Made Easy”, to be more appropriate for high school seniors. Teacher resources were gathered including a “How to Vote” info-graphic poster, LWV materials like “Facts for Citizens”, and a resource page of civic education and voter-related websites.
In the second year, five presenters with teaching experience refined the nonpartisan PowerPoint and presented to 450 seniors, registering 205 new, young voters. In this third year, four additional presenters are being trained, bringing our total to nine presenter/volunteer teams. From the beginning of our initiative, we have identified Allegheny County Schools with the highest Free and Reduced Lunch populations, including Pittsburgh Public Schools. To date, visits to nine high schools are confirmed for February and March. Two other events with students and young adults are also confirmed. These commitments mean we will reach approximately 1300 students with our civic education presentation and student voter registration.
There is a good possibility that up to five additional high schools will commit to visits in April and May, which may extend our reach to another 1000 – 1600 students. We will need to fundraise to cover the copying and printing costs of providing civic education/ voter registration resources to these additional students.
More about the LWVGP High School Initiative for 2020:
- We are committed to a nonpartisan approach in everything we say and do.
- A League of Women Voters Education Fund grant was written and awarded in November 2019 for $800. These funds were used to produce the materials being shared with students and teachers in our February and March high school visits.
- We continue to reach out to schools with large underserved populations. Up to five additional high schools may commit with visits in April and May increasing our reach to another 1000-1600 students.
- We have collaborated with a Pittsburgh Public Schools social studies administrator who is coordinating the effort to conduct voter registration in the PPS high schools. We were invited present to PPS 9th grade civics teachers at a January 2019 inservice. We attended a meeting in September 2019, along with other organizations to try to once again to map out a process that would work for all of the groups involved in the student voter registration effort. While no PPS high school has committed to a visit so far, the effort is continuing.
- LWVGP presenters are former teachers or have teaching experience.
- The Voting Made Easy, 30-minute PowerPoint presentation provides some civic education context and answers all "essential questions" about voting rights and responsibilities. It is interactive and dynamic. We have found that talking with students in a small setting is the most effective way to engage them. In the last ten minutes of a class period, our volunteers help students register to vote. Our presentation has been reviewed by teachers and students and through the years has been enhanced by their feedback.
- We respect school hierarchies; we contact principalsand ask for designated personnel to work through.
- We continue to receive very positive feedback from teachers and students; from 200 Elizabeth Forward Middle School students visited in November 2019, to a social justice class at Duquesne University visited in January 2020. At Duquesne University, we presented to 80 students as we switched back and forth with artist Penny Mateer who had students create fabric "Vote" posters that will be distributed through campus.
- We collaborate with INSPIREPA. One of the ways their representative supports our initiative is to provide student information cards for a database which allows text reminders to students before elections.
- Our list of “Key Volunteers” has grown to 36 committed League members. If you are interested in more information about this important program, please contact Amy Kleissas at email@example.com. (412.600.2581)
Amy Kleissas, Director
League of Women Votes of Greater Pittsburgh
Civic Education - High School Project Chair