Public Programs




Kid Convention Aerial Shot

Kids: It’s your chance to choose. What issues in your community are most important to you? What qualities should candidates running for local office possess? What can we do in our communities to create a better world? It’s up to you to answer these questions at the Institute’s 2017 Kid Convention.

Ahead of November’s municipal elections for mayor, city council, and school board, children and families are invited to join the Institute for a day of special programming to educate youngsters about the importance of local leadership and civic engagement in our democracy. Interactive activities will help kids learn about the legislative process, their local government, and the importance of making their voices heard.

The special Kid Convention programs will be offered three times throughout the day. If you would like to participate in all of the special programs, you can arrive at either 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., or 2:00 p.m. Each session includes the following activities:

What Makes A Good Local Leader? In this interactive game, kids work together in teams in the Institute’s Senate Chamber to discuss the qualities of a good leader and identify important local issues. The kids will see their ideas come to life as actors become the candidates the kids envisioned and tackle the issues they suggested for debate. Kids and their families will then vote for the candidate that best fits their ideals of a good local leader.

Political Poster Project: Local Leadership. Throughout the day, young people are invited to create posters illustrating an issue that is important to them. Kids will be encouraged to think about the many forms leadership can take and identify a leader they know in their school or community. Kids can design their ideal candidates based on good leadership qualities, or even design a campaign poster for their own run for office.

Future Senator. The Future Senator program introduces 5 through 11 year-old visitors to the legislative process. Featuring a segment from WGBH’s Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman, the program introduces young people to an issue relevant to them: whether the United States government should require a longer school day. The program concludes with a vote in the Senate Chamber.

Cast Your Ballots. While kids may not be able to vote in this year’s elections, they can cast their ballots during Kid Convention in the Institute’s voting booth. This activity will introduce kids to the voting process by giving them the opportunity to vote on issues that affect them in their school and community.

Please allow time for check-in upon arrival; we recommend arriving 10-15 minutes before the three session start times at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Additional Resources

  • Getting to the Point with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

    Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Stephen Breyer will participate in a moderated conversation with Nina Totenberg, NPR’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent, about the vital role the Supreme Court plays in providing checks and balances on the federal government, the importance of nominations to the bench and how elections impact these decisions, and the recent rulings of the court.

  • 2020 MAAH Stone Book Award

    Join the Museum of African American History, the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation, and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate for the 2020 MAAH Stone Book Award Virtual Event. Now in its third year, the Award is an annual prize that encourages scholarship and writing within the field of African American history and culture by awarding a $25,000 prize and two $5,000 finalist prizes for exceptional adult non-fiction books written in a literary style.

  • The Citizens' Choice: Ranked Choice Voting

    Join the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate and the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts for a Constitution Day forum on Massachusetts’s Ballot Question #2. The moderated discussion will cover both sides of the Ranked Choice Voting initiative as Commonwealth voters prepare to head to the polls in November.