emPowerU is a technology rich facility designed to maximize creativity and encourage collaboration among our youth. It is a place where youth learn how to address challenges in their schools and communities. emPowerU is a place where every voice is heard and all ideas are valued. More than 24,000 students have experienced the impact of our challenge-based immersions since 2007.
The Civic Engagement Immersions are held at emPowerU in St. Joseph and Think Ahead Works in King City. There are three unique circuits that build upon each other. Circuit One and Two are facilitator-led at emPowerU. Circuit Three is a self-propelled community project.
emPowerU programs are inclusive of all student types and academic levels.
Civic Engagement Immersions will be offered free of charge through 2025 for school districts in the Foundation’s 31 county service region in northwest Missouri and adjacent counties in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.
Circuit One: Learn
Circuit One is a student-led, problem-based learning experience. Our professionally trained facilitators present students with challenges and guide them through discussions, discovery and consensus building. Student groups then present their findings to their peers and the emPowerU Council.
Circuit Two: Empower
emPowerU transforms into a new region of diverse communities. Students become citizens of these communities and serve in specific roles such as mayors, commissioners, and researchers. Each community has the task of discovering its biggest need and presenting that need to the student-led hearing. Communities then collaborate to discover ways to improve the region.
Circuit Three: Serve
Students have the option to do a community service project where they examine their own community and come to consensus on an issue they would like to address. Students identify obstacles and brainstorm solutions. Once a plan is in place, students may apply for a competitive Jump Starter grant to help fund their project.