Start the Conversation

Civic Duty

Oct 27, 2022

Civic Duty

“Kids have to live with adult choices!”

– A Vote for Our Future by Margaret McNamara and Micha Player

It’s true! Kids do have to live with adult choices, especially the choices made in elections. The democratic right to vote in America is a hard fought battle that continues in modern America. So, how are we talking to our young people about their civic duty and the power of voting?

Start the Conversation

In this series, Miss Caitlyn explores the definition, history, and responsibility of voting and civic duty for all community members, regardless of their age or legal citizenship status. Talking to our young people about government, politics, civic duty and community is a big conversation, so let’s start now.

Intended Age Group: 5-10

This video may be helpful for…
  • Parents, Caregivers and Educators who are ready to begin a conversation about civic duty, civic engagement, responsibility and voting.

  • To provide a framework for families to begin a conversation with their young people about civic engagement and responsibility.

  • To support an ideal and hopeful definition of civic engagement by depicting what the role of a citizen can be, not necessarily what it is now.

  • To acknowledge that American citizenship does not look one way.

  • To make space for everyone within our communities and place the wellbeing of all community members at the center of a citizen’s civic duty (i.e. to vote or make decisions with all members of the community in mind, regardless of race, gender, wealth, ability or citizenship status).

  • To label citizenship as a responsibility and role that holds power.

Questions We Will Explore
  • What is a Citizen?
  • What is Civic Duty?
  • What is the responsibility of a citizen/ community member?
  • What is voting? How do we vote?Why do we vote?
  • How can I be an engaged citizen and community member?
Before Watching
  • We encourage adults to watch with their young person(s). That way you can take in and process information together. Adults can also help by pausing the video and assisting their young person in answering and asking questions.

  • Explore the pre-video activities in the Child Activity guide! These activities will help your young person start thinking critically and creatively about conversation topics before watching.

  • Make sure you are ready to dive into this topic. If you, the adult, or your child are actively experiencing heightened emotions (anxiety, fear, anger, etc.) around civic duty or voting, wait until you are both feeling more relaxed to discuss these topics.

A Note Before Watching

Start the Conversation’s definition of citizen is a person who lives in a particular place and is a member of that community. We acknowledge that the word citizen and citizenship in America carries a lot of weight for many young people and their families. While voting is a right reserved for American citizens, we hope to engage all people living in America as citizens of communities. Our goal is to encourage all people to invest in the care, wellbeing and rights of all community members regardless of their age or citizenship status. And for American citizens to leverage their voting privilege and consider all members of their community when voting.

Vote for Our Future

In this video, Miss Caitlyn explores voting and why it matters for young people. Through a series of theatrical explorations and a read aloud of A Vote for Our Future by Margaret McNamara and Micha Player, viewers will explore what voting is, the history of voting, and why it’s important.

What Can a Citizen Do?

In this video, Teaching Artist Caitlyn McCain reads What Can a Citizen Do? By Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris and explores the concept of civic duty and community engagement. Viewers will explore different ways citizens can be active and engaged members of their community.

What Can a Non-Citizen Do?

In our last video, we explored different ways citizens can help their community. But, what if someone is not a legal citizen? What can they do? In this video we explore different definitions of citizen and how all people play an important and unique role in caring for their community.

Resource Guide

This guide is designed for grown-ups to continue their education and grow their resources

Activity Guide

This guide is designed for grown-ups to share with their young people to continue the conversation and practice tools/themes shared in the video.

Add To Your Library

If you enjoyed the books featured in the videos, add them to your family library! By purchasing the books through our affiliate links, you’ll be supporting local bookstores and NYCCT’s work.

Start More Conversations

NYCCT’s Start the Conversation series has covered topics like race, civic duty, immigration, re-emerging from COVID-19 and more.

Future Conversations

NYCCT wants to hear from you! Is there a topic you’d like to see covered on Start the Conversation? Let us know!


STC’s Civic Duty & Voting was scripted by Caitlyn McCain.

Co-Produced by Caitlyn McCain and Nicole Hogsett

The Adult Resource Guide and Child Activity Guide were created by Caitlyn McCain, Nicole Hogsett and Alyssa Jiwani.

Videography by Caitlyn McCain
Video Edits by Caitlyn McCain

Webpage by Nicole Hogsett
Website Language by Caitlyn McCain

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