Youth Leadership Initiative

The Youth Leadership Initiative at the University of Virginia Center for Politics is dedicated to increasing civic engagement by providing teachers with the best civics education materials and programs. Research shows that quality civics education programs are essential to creating lifelong citizenship and YLI programs empower students to take responsibility for our democracy.

In 1998 UVA professor and Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato founded the Youth Leadership Initiative to combat the apathy and cynicism that he saw in his politics students. Professor Sabato believed that by creating quality civics education programs students would be energized to accept the responsibilities of citizenship and become lifelong participants in American democracy.

Activities such as the yearly Mock Election, E-Congress, Democracy Corps, and YLI lesson plans do more than just teach about civics and government. Each program is infused with simulations and hands-on projects that connect students with the political process.

The Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) provides everything educators need to get their students in the game absolutely FREE of charge. There is no catch.

For more information on Youth Leadership Initiative, visit our website here.

Lessons 9
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Elect Hands Raised
  • Social Studies
  • High School
The least likely group of voters is people age 18-20. This lesson seeks to change that by demonstrating to students both the power and importance of...
Kids waving flags
  • Social Studies
  • K-2, 3-5
This short activity is designed to introduce students to the concept of voting and its importance to American citizenship. Objective : Students will...
Now available on demand. Original air date: October 6, 2016, 3:30-4:30 p.m. EDT Available for one-hour of PD credit. Mock elections are a great way...
  • Social Studies
  • High School
The Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) has created these activities and Constitution lesson plans to enhance your students' understanding of the...