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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

Each year, Mikva Challenge works with Facebook Education to launch Soapbox Nation. We convene Project Soapbox finalists from over 20 cities – to share their speech at our nation’s capital.

Learn More

Step up to the Soapbox

In IL, for more information contact:

Karla Morin Castilla

Issues to Action Program Director

In DC, for more information contact:

Justine Hipsky

Program Director

For more information contact:

Brian Brady

President

Project Soapbox FAQs

Is there a Project Soapbox curriculum?

Yes! Download our Project Soapbox curriculum.

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.