Published: March 7, 2014

Two things set the University of Colorado Boulder's Public Achievement program apart from other service learning and civic engagement initiatives: mentorship and empowerment.

“The public achievement motto is ‘We are the ones we’ve been waiting for,’” Director Elaina Verveer said.  “It essentially means that we can’t expect elected officials, we can’t expect adults, we can’t expect ‘experts’ to solve our problems. What we need to do is tap into our existing capacities, our existing talents to build social capital and work collectively with others to find common solutions.”

Considered by many the beating heart of the PA program, Verveer has been an instructor with CU-Boulder’s INVST Community Studies since 2004 and helped establish the program in 2007 at CU-Boulder and participating K-12 schools (Centaurus High School, Casey Middle School and Pioneer Elementary School). Originally founded in 1990 at the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at the University of Minnesota, the program is an international civic engagement initiative that seeks to empower young people through student to student mentorship and exploration of public issues the students themselves identify.  See more