Valley Forward’s program is designed to give local students the tools to inspire grassroots advocacy in rural communities, where civic participation is at record lows. We know that increased civic participation results in accountable and reflective representation in local government and can increase resource allocations in small communities. Students at Valley Forward are introduced to the political process and gain meaningful experience through conversations about local issues with neighbors at their doorstep. By listening to Valley neighbors, rather than soliciting to them, our program captures the collective voice of each community, while giving our team the best possible introduction to civic education. Ultimately, our goal is to illustrate a pattern of needs for the Central Valley and to give neighbors, and students, the direction needed to be permanently proactive in their own communities.