Make Change Happen

Make Change Happen!

Learning to Make Public Policy Work for You

Today many citizens don’t get involved in trying to help shape and create public policies that affect their lives because they don’t believe they can make a difference. As a result, others decide what’s best for them.

The level of civic engagement has declined significantly in this country over the past several decades, and this disconnect threatens our democracy. Many don’t get involved until there is a crisis that affects them personally, and often it is too late.

This Trainer’s Manual will help you empower citizens to become proactive problem-solvers.

The manual was created to provide learning opportunities and information to help ordinary citizens:
  • SEE the connections between public policies, laws and regulations and their everyday lives.
  • Discover and BELIEVE in their power as citizens in a democratic society.
  • Learn how to DO what it takes to help create, change or enforce policies to make their communities better places to live and work and play.

The Trainer’s Manual can be used with a variety of groups because you can pick and choose among the interactive and thought provoking activities to tailor training to best meet each group’s needs.

For a description of the three parts of the interactive CD-ROM called Adventures in Citizenship that accompanies the trainer's guide CD-ROM and printed manual, please see below. Although the Trainer’s Manual includes two CDs, the training can be done without a computer because all of the information and reproducible handouts are included in the printed manual.

    The 118-page Trainer’s Manual Includes:

  • More than 50 training activities from which the trainer can pick and choose
    to provide a training program designed to meet the needs of training participants.
  • Reproducible handouts and worksheets for training participants.
  • The printed text of the interactive Make Change Happen CD-ROM (described below) so the training can be done even if a computer is not available.
  • A guide for coaching a group or organization that wants to create and/or change a policy or get one enforced.
  • A "pre” and "post” participant self-assessment form to gauge the effectiveness of the training.
  • The Trainer’s Manual also includes two CDs:
    • A Trainer’s CD, which includes:
      • An electronic version of the Trainer’s Manual.
      • A PowerPoint® presentation, which provides an overview of what public policy is and how we can change it.
      • The soundtrack of the rap music (without lyrics) from the Make Change Happen CD-ROM so participants can write their own songs.
      • The licensing agreement.
    • An interactive CD-ROM entitled Make Change Happen–See, Believe, Do which includes music, stories, interactive exercises and how-to information. It is designed to help people make the connection between public policy and their everyday lives, understand their power and learn the seven steps to make change happen.

Part 1: What are public policies and how do they affect you?

"Rappin’ Boogie Bobcat” engages students with a "Public Policy Rap” and takes them on an interactive joy ride where they can discover public policy connections at home, at work, at school, at play and in the community.

Objective: To help students understand what public policies are, how public policies affect their daily lives, and their right and responsibility to have a voice in the public policymaking process.

Click below to view a sample of Rappin' Boogie Bobcat's Public Policy Rap. Please Note: these files were compressed from their original, high-quality version available on the CD.

Part 2: The Saga of Soggy Bottom Swamp

Students get a front-row seat for "The Saga of Soggy Bottom Swamp,” where swamp critters face a life-threatening dilemma and then discover their power and, through the democratic process, save the swamp. (Run time: 17 minutes)

Objective: To engage students on an emotional level and provide an interesting, fun and inspiring illustration of the public policymaking process and the power of ordinary citizens to bring about change in a democracy.

Part 3 : What can you do about public policies?

This part is divided into three sections—"See,” "Believe” and "Do.” In it students discover the importance of knowing (1) what the current situation or problem is and what they want it to be, (2) how to find and use their power, and (3) what it takes to make change happen.

Objective: To reinforce the message of the Saga and give students practical and useful "how-to” information that will give them a jump start on tackling a public policy change.

SMHA Wants To Hear From You

To help us gauge the effectiveness of this product, please
(1) administer the brief Participant Self Assessment on pg 115 of the Trainer's Guide or here, as both a pre- and post-assessment instrument when you initially use the CD or any of the lesson plans or units in this guide and
(2) use the form on pages 113-114 or send us the pre- and post-assessment results.

The form can be faxed to 337-367-3279, submitted on-line, or printed and mailed to SMHA, 3602 Old Jeanerette Road, New Iberia, LA 70563. We are not asking that you send the results each time you use the CD or lesson plans and units, only the first time. However, you may want to use the assessment instrument for your own evaluation purposes when you use the CD on other occasions.

Other feedback also welcome: The lesson plans in this guide were developed by an experienced team of trainers to illustrate how the CD can be used in the classroom. No doubt you and other trainers will come up with even more creative ways to use the CD to actively engage participants in learning about civics, citizenship and other subjects. If you develop additional lesson plans, please send them to SMHA at the address above. In addition, please send us any comments you have about this product. (Also see page 223 of the guide for information about the "SEE, BELIEVE, DO Trainer Award.” Administering and reporting the pre- and post-assessment results as noted above is one of the requirements of the award.)



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