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Civic Education Project

Custom-Designed Programs and Curriculum

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Inquire About Custom-Designed Programs

Contact to discuss options for your school or organization! 

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School-year and summer opportunities available

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Leadership, Service-Learning, and Social Justice Education

Opportunities for Your Students to Learn, Serve, and Lead

CEP custom-designed programs and curriculum allow your students to:

  • Engage in hands-on service with communities 
  • Learn about important social problems and inspiring solutions
  • Develop and practice leadership skills
  • Earn service hours while making a difference
Why Partner with CEP?


Many schools or organizations don’t have the time, resources, or expertise to offer these opportunities on their own. Allow CEP to start with your learning goals and do the work of designing and facilitating a meaningful curriculum or program experience for your students.


  • 95% of alumni from CEP custom-designed programs would participate in a CEP program again, given the opportunity.
  • 97% would recommend a CEP program to a friend.

Mind-blowing, life-changing and eye-opening aren’t just catchy marketing slogans; they are feedback we consistently receive from our students. Contact CEP to be connected with a student alumni program reference.


We’ll work with you to meet the needs of your students and staff. Programs and curriculum services can be scheduled anytime during the school year and are offered at various lengths and price points. 

Professional Development

Your educators and staff members can gain an introduction to (or advanced training in) service-learning, and come away with best practices to implement in their own classrooms or programs.

Subject-Area Expertise

CEP’s full-time staff team provides over fifty years of experience in designing, facilitating, and evaluating service-learning and youth development programs and curriculum.  We know what works and how to provide a quality learning experience. Contact us for details about speaking to a CEP partner reference.

About our Pedagogy

We believe:

  • service-learning is an important complement to classroom-based academic learning, and students are best served by experiencing both pedagogies;
  • community service can – and should – be meaningful to students, best experienced through carefully planned experiences and led by group leaders trained in service-learning and experiential education;
  • service should be tied to a curriculum framework, and student learning is facilitated from the debrief and reflection activities that follow a service experience in addition to the hands-on service experiences;
  • communities are full of assets, and we work to partner with communities, rather than for communities;
  • our service is mutually beneficial, and more often than not, our groups take away more than we are able to provide in our short-term service.

Learn more about our approach to service-learning and leadership education.

Designing a Program with CEP

The Student Experience

CEP’s programs are geared towards bright, motivated students in grades 7-12 who show leadership ability or potential and an interest in service. Programs can accommodate student groups as small as 18, and groups as large as 100.

CEP programs are inclusive of students, staff, partners and community members of different races, cultures, religions, national origins, genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, ages and abilities.


CEP Program Components

  • Meaningful Service: Each day, students engage in what they call the most eye-opening element of CEP programs: meaningful service. Sample service projects include serving a meal at a soup kitchen, running activities at a youth center, or conducting outreach for a neighborhood organization.
  • Leadership Development: Through facilitated teambuilding activities, students develop strong and lasting friendships and develop interpersonal and leadership skills. 
  • Challenge Perspectives through Reflection: Through examining complex social problems and engaging in dialogue with peers and leaders, students sharpen communication and critical thinking skills and gain a broader perspective on the world.
  • Inclusive Community: Students and staff live in retreat-style housing in the heart of their host communities. A hostel or community center becomes their “home away from home.” Sharing meals helps to establish a tight-knit community, and traveling via public transit offers a unique way to explore the city. 
  • Credit and Service Hours: Participants earn service hours and service-learning credit towards school or extracurricular requirements. In addition, students often report that their CEP experience provides rich material for college admissions essays, job and internship interviews, and future academic assignments. 
Custom-Designed Curriculum

CEP curriculum resources support educators in delivering vital instruction in the areas of civics, service-learning, and social justice education to align with local standards.

Curriculum services range from our team providing guidance, resources, and feedback to curricula developed by local teaching staff, to CEP providing full curriculum units (including course objectives, lessons, activities, and assessments), that integrate service-learning and social justice teaching standards and are aligned with local civics requirements.

Please note, as curricula are customized to local standards, a two-three month lead time is required for consultation with CEP before the desired curriculum implementation date.

Complete our interest form, and a CEP staff member will follow up to schedule an initial consultation.

Getting Started

Complete our interest form to provide us some basic information on the program or curriculum you're looking to provide. CEP staff will follow up within five business days to schedule an initial consult, and provide options regarding program locations, topics, and itineraries.

Custom-designed quotes are valid for up to six months. We have found that the most successful partnerships stem from an existing interest for such programming or curriculum development on the part of students, families, schools and funders.

Schools, districts, or organizations that want to partner with CEP generally choose one or two staff members (teachers, administrators, or staff members) to serve as the point of contact and liaise with CEP throughout the design and implementation process.

Partner Referrals

CEP partner organizations have included the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Gower Middle School, Lake Forest Academy, North Shore Country Day School, and the West Suburban Consortium for Academic Excellence.

Contact us for details about speaking to a CEP Program Partner reference.

Please note: during the height of CEP program seasons (March-April, and June-August) our full-time staff are managing programs, and response time for custom-designed inquiries may be delayed. Thank you for your patience.

COVID-19 and Programming for Schools

In response to the pandemic, Northwestern University has implemented a phased return to campus, limited face-to-face programming, and restricted travel. Similarly, we are aware that many schools around the country are continuing to work remotely or with restricted in-person activity. At this time, CTD is conducting its programs and services in a remote format. The return of face-to-face programming will vary according to state and university requirements and school and program circumstances. If your school is interested in face-to-face programs, please contact us to discuss your needs and timeline. In the interim, we welcome the opportunity to provide your school with remote options to meet your needs. 

Contact Us

For general inquiries about CEP programs and partnership opportunities, contact CEP:

Complete an interest form to provide complete details about your program or curriculum development inquiry.


“I learned so much and it was a program that exceeded my expectations. The best part was all the new experiences and ideas and learning with my classmates.” -CEP Student

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