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Project Soapbox

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Project Soapbox is a public speaking competition facilitated by Mikva Challenge that calls young people to speak out on issues that affect them and their communities. These powerful speeches have lasting, transformative impacts on classrooms, schools, and communities.

How it works

1 Youth identify an issue they are passionate about to create a two-minute speech. Speeches have to include researched evidence about their issue and a call to action for listeners.

2 Students stand up and deliver their two-minute speeches to their peers, and listen to other issues impacting their classrooms.

3 At some schools, representatives from each classroom deliver their speech to their entire school! This step is optional.

4 In a citywide event, students representing their school present their two-minute speech to their peers from across their city.

Soapbox Nation

Every year, youth speakers from all over the country are invited to share their Soapbox speeches on this national platform – and 12 finalists are chosen for the culminating Soapbox Nation Mainstage showcase

Learn More

Step up to the Soapbox

For teachers in IL, DC and CA:

Teachers interested in participating in this program in Illinois, DC and California are eligible to receive additional classroom support, resources and access to Mikva-organized events and opportunities.

In IL, for more information contact:

Karla Morin Castilla

Issues to Action Director

In DC, for more information contact:

Justine Hipsky

Program Director

In New York, NY, for more information contact:

Cristina Perez

NYC Program Director

In Rochester, NY, for more information contact:

Ken Porter

Rochester, NY Site Director

In CA, for more information contact:

R. Tolteka Cuauhtin

CA Director of Curriculum and Partnerships

In New Hampshire, for more information contact:

Amanda Maguire

New Hampshire ACSMI Site Director

In Jefferson County, KY, for more information contact:

Nikki Williams

Director of Professional Learning and Partnerships

In Wilmington, DE, for more information contact:

Karla Morin Castilla

Wilmington, DE Site Director

All others:

For more information contact:

Brian Brady

Chief Executive Officer

Project Soapbox FAQs

Is there a Project Soapbox curriculum?

Yes! Learn more about our curriculum here.

How does Project Soapbox fit in classroom instruction?

Project Soapbox is a perfect platform for building classroom community at the beginning of the school year while providing social and emotional learning opportunities for teachers to utilize throughout the rest of the year. In addition, the skills that are critical to a young person’s ability to become an advocate for pressing community issues are the skills that will prepare them for an active and engage civic life. Students are invested and engage meaningfully in the writing and revision process and develop skills in persuasive and argumentative writing, research, speaking, listening, and compelling delivery.

Who can participate?

While participation has traditionally occurred in high school Social Studies and English classrooms, students from all grade levels and content areas can participate. Elementary school participation has increased over the last few years, and other content areas such as Art and Science have found a way to leverage youth voice and expertise through Soapbox units.

Do I have to have my students participate in the citywide competition?

Nope! You can have students present speeches in your classroom, to family members, or even the school community, without the competition component. The real value is in acquiring an audience – students speeches need to be heard.

I’ve heard about Project Soapbox and Soapbox Nation — are they the same thing?

Project Soapbox is the original name of curriculum and our citywide public speaking competition in Chicago. Project Soapbox is part of the Soapbox Nation Initiative, which encourages thousands of students from around the United States to join the debate about the future of our country and to give speeches about youth issues that they would like the country to address.

Winners of Soapbox Nation classroom competitions around the country have a chance to enter into our Soapbox Nation online competition via video submission in lieu of citywide competitions.

Winners of the online competition will have the opportunity to present their speeches to a national audience in DC. Winners of Project Soapbox citywide competitions in Chicago, CA, and DC will also have the chance to attend.