Fantasy Congress

A college student in California has created a new website modeled on fantasy sports sites--except instead of players on a team, users pick and track different legislators from political parties. The Boston Globe reports that the site "is being used increasingly by students and teachers for some civics education outside the textbook."

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State Volunteer Corps to be Created

Governor Deval Patrick has announced the creation of a state volunteer agency modeled on existing programs such as AmeriCorps and City Year. The Boston Globe reports on the announcement of the Commonwealth Corps this morning on its website.

The program will also include a Student Corps "to expand opportunities for students interested in service learning opportunities," according to the official release. The Student Corps will be administered by local public universities and will aim to match students with service related to their area of study.

The Boston Globe on December 26 reported the possible creation of such a Corps, calling it "[o]ne of the most ambitious proposals" discussed by the Transition Team. The Globe described the Corps as "500 full-time and 500 part-time workers charged with the goal of mobilizing 100,000 volunteers to address some of the state's most pressing problems."

See also: Boston Globe, Governor announces effort to recruit volunteers for needy, January 9th, 2007; Springfield Republican editorial, Year-of-service plan good for the Bay State, January 10th, 2007; Taunton Gazette, Patrick fulfills Pacheco hopes of service corps, January 9th, 2007

SCI Mentioned in Globe Editorials

Two recent Boston Globe editorials have noted SCI's work in relation to the new Governor's focus on civic engagement:

  • "Potential in the wings" appeared Saturday, Jan. 6th and reflected on the Youth Inaugural, mentioned and SCI as ways to keep up the momentum from that event.
  • "A civics lesson for the state" appeared on Dec. 9th, 2006, and mentioned a new state program modeled on SCI's Civic Welcome Wagon to help newcomers to our state feel welcomed, thereby increasing their chances of becoming engaged in civic life.

Strangers and diction

Noting the increasing rarity of even acknowledging strangers, let alone talking to them, Globe columnist Scott Lehigh laments that "Our civic soul too often seems locked in permafrost, with pleasantries that are easy and abundant currency in other regions meted out as though they were pieces of gold."

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Working Group Reports Available

For several weeks prior to the holidays, thousands of citizens across the state attended Patrick/Murray transition working group hearings on a wide array of subjects. It was exciting to see so many people have the opportunity to provide input to the incoming adminstration.

The working group reports are now available. We're pleased to see the idea of Civic Welcome Wagon programs around the state included in the Civic Engagement Working Group report. SCI has greeted some 1,000 new Woburn families through our successful Civic Welcome Wagon project. It would be exciting to see this project spread around the state!