Design to Better [Our City] is an entrepreneurial and action-learning civic engagement program that challenges Black and Latinx high school youth to advance racial equity where they live through creative problem solving, cultural history and healing, civic leadership, and entrepreneurship.

With education and training in a holistic, workforce-development model, local youth design healthier and more inclusive communities by co-creating with traditionally underrepresented communities—progressing solutions to local disparities while building participants’ creative confidence and professional competencies.

Through the immersive school year program, participants will learn about Black and Latinx history, current events, and racial and economic disparities, the impact on their daily lives, and the power of community engagement. Then, in partnership with local residents, the students will co-create solutions (directly addressing a systemic issue the community deems a priority) to pilot in their city. In Design to Better [Our City], participating youth will not just work in the classroom, but also work within their local communities -- from community canvassing (in which community members share their ideas for building healthier, more inclusive neighborhoods) to pop-up design labs. For more information or to support Design to Better [Our City], contact Antionette Carroll, Founder and CEO, at acarroll@creativereactionlab.com or 314-289-4105.

Abbreviated Program Schedule.

 
 
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Gain 21st Century Skills.

Within the Design to Better [Our City] program, Black and Latinx youth will be trained to become urban civic designers with the program curriculum focusing on entrepreneurship, creative problem solving, cultural history and healing, and civic leadership. Through these lessons, each student will develop the 21st century skills of teamwork, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, cultural awareness, and more.

Real Problems. Real Solutions. Real Impact.

Opposed to lectures, students will learn by real-world application of lessons through pop-up labs, community canvassing, and the development of a final solution (project, program, product, or venture). At the completion of the program, each student team will have completed the following: community research, idea prototype, business plan, public art and design campaign, and a final presentation.

Additional benefits of participation include:

  • Developing solutions to real-world community issues.

  • Networking and co-designing with emerging and established civic, social, and business leaders.

  • Access to local, regional, and national opportunities through the Creative Reaction Lab network.

  • Collaborating with leading arts and culture, technology, civic, and educational institutions.

  • Priority eligibility for Creative Reaction Lab’s Civic Leadership Apprenticeship.

 
 
 

360° Youth Leadership Model.

Using the evidence-based, near-peer model, Design to Better [Our City] will have a 360° youth engagement model, highlighted with a three-tier mentorship cohort: Young Urban Civic Leaders (high school participants), Team Mentors (local college students), and a Program Lead (an early career professional).

 
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The Problem and Opportunity.

By 2040, Blacks and Latinos/as will make up almost 40% of the United States population, and yet these populations face disproportionate racial and economic inequities, limiting social, economic, and cultural growth. To holistically address these disparities, Creative Reaction Lab is putting the power back into the hands of everyday residents, with the youth leading the change.

 
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