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Richard Doty

Laura Moore
Civic Literacy Project

Last modified: Thursday, May 30, 2002

Students teach students about child abuse through IU's Civic Literacy Project

A group of Ben Davis Junior High School students in Indianapolis have become advocates for victims of child abuse through the Civic Literacy Project (CLP) at Indiana University.

Approximately 20 ninth-graders in two classes have spent the spring semester learning about child abuse and working to help educate fellow students about the dangers involved. The students researched and wrote books on child abuse that were presented to sixth-graders at McClelland Elementary School. They also prepared and presented skits that showed the different types of child abuse such as verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect, explained Kristi Hinkle, whose reading class participated in the project with a writing class taught by Taryn Kent.

The students also used the Worldwide Web to research information on child abuse laws through YouthVoice.Net at and wrote letters to Congressman Dan Burton advocating stronger child abuse laws.

Hinkle said the project was successful in several ways. "Using service learning in the classroom was a major motivator for the students. While helping teach other students and serving the community, the students improved their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. They also gained skills in leadership, decision-making and teamwork," she said.

CLP was founded at IU through the Political Science Department in 1997 to foster sustainable service-learning programs, positive civic engagement and educational improvement. Through nationally recognized efforts, CLP has engaged thousands of Indiana students in service learning by educating young people while they serve their community.

Hinkle said the students selected child abuse in February after learning about service learning and advocacy with a YouthVoice.Net grant from CLP and the Indiana Youth Services Association. The students considered topics such as school violence, drug abuse and terrorism before deciding on child abuse.

For more information on this project, contact Laura Moore, YouthVoice.Net project manager, at 812-856-0550 or