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2013 Civic Data Challenge

The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) has recently launched its second annual Civic Data Challenge, a national competition to transform raw data on the nation’s civic health into applications and visualizations that can be used by community leaders and engaged citizens. Because the applications are meant to be of use in actual communities, each entry must have a community partner to ensure that the product is meeting a real community need. This year, the challenge has been divided into three phases: ideation, creation, and implementation.

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Nominate a veteran for the 2013 HOOAH Award

Each year, the Major George A. Smith Memorial Fund awards the HOOAH Award to a veteran who “defines citizenship through service to our country, both in uniform and beyond.” Past honorees include Eric Greitens, Derek Blumke, Eric Hilleman, and Chris Marvin; read their inspiring stories here. Nominations for the 2013 HOOAH Award are now being accepted.

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Won’t you be my neighbor?

In December, we covered the release of the “Volunteering and Civic Life in America” report by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC). NCoC is now going more in-depth in exploring the study’s findings, and this month highlighted the very low numbers that discuss social cohesion in neighborhoods.

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Are Americans still bowling alone?

In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of his visit to America that “Americans of all ages, all stations in life, and all types of dispositions are forever forming associations. . . . Nothing, in my view, deserves more attention than the intellectual and moral associations in America.” Writing 160 years after Tocqueville, the American political scientist Robert Putnam described in his book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community that Americans were becoming less likely to participate in these associations—that instead of joining bowling leagues, they were “bowling alone.” That was over ten years ago. How are Americans faring today?

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Mid-week roundup

Some recent happenings in the citizenship world:

  • The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) continues to release state-level civic health indexes, most recently for Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Alabama.
  • Writing in The Atlantic, Lindsay Windsor and Arthur Rizer argue in favor of the Stolen Valor Act, a law passed by Congress in 2006 that makes it a crime to lie about being awarded a military honor, such as the Purple Heart or the Medal of Honor.
  • New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof has a moving article examining the extreme hardships faced by returning veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Civic data challenge

The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) and the Knight Foundation have paired up to create a “civic data challenge” to turn “the raw data of ‘civic health’ into beautiful, useful applications and visualizations, enabling communities to be better understood and made to thrive.”

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Another civic-education wake up call

Earlier this week, the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) joined with three Florida civic organizations to release a new report: the 2011 Florida Civic Health Index.

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