Sections    Friday March 23rd, 2018
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Veteran volunteers bring civics education to life in Arizona classrooms

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  • Gordon C. James Public Relations

Veteran Fred Shirley Speaks To A Group Of Children About Civic Engagement.

Marine Corp. veteran Jim Sprigg is one of over 400 Veteran volunteers in seven states who volunteers his time to bring civics education to life in the classroom. And he says he’s seen the light bulb go on over and over again, as he speaks to students about our country’s system of government and the freedoms that we enjoy as American citizens.

Through the Veterans Inspiring Patriotism (VIP) program, Sprigg and the other Veteran volunteers work with educators to customize a presentation that incorporates personal stories and educational material focused on the roots of our democracy: the U.S. Flag, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Veteran volunteers bring civics education to life in Arizona classrooms fredh-shirley-300x156

Veteran Fred Shirley speaks to a group of children about civic engagement.

“It’s really teaching the kids an appreciation for our rights we have…,” said Sprigg. “I feel that’s a worthwhile endeavor.”

The VIP program is offered through The Joe Foss Institute (JFI), a non-profit organization with offices in Arizona, Texas and Florida, that is working to close the civics education gap and prepare young Americans for civic engagement as voters and informed members of their community.

The VIP program presentations which typically last 30 – 50 minutes, are led by a trained Veteran, and are offered at no charge to schools. Designed to be customized to all grade levels, the presentation features a video and personal testimony the presenting U.S. military Veteran, followed by a question and answer session. Additionally, students learn about the roles and responsibilities associated with a life of active, engaged citizenship.
Participating classrooms receive complimentary American flags and copies of the U. S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence.

In addition to running the VIP program, JFI offers a series of civics education materials that are free to schools. The lessons align with clear learning objectives and assist teachers with their lesson plans on the U.S. Flag, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In addition, JFI also has a scholarship program that grants 15 scholarships annually, totaling $42,500.

For more information on scheduling a VIP presentation, or learning more about the other JFI programs, please visit