Contact us: [email protected]
Invest in the future of Democracy

Virginia Civics

The home of the Virginia We the People and Project Citizen programs, working to transform every student in Virginia into an informed, engaged, and active citizen.

What is VA Civics?

VA Civics is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that promotes constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement to empower the next generation of leaders in Virginia. VA Civics offers professional development opportunities for teachers, teaching resources, and classroom support, and runs annual We the People competitions and Project Citizen showcases.

Putting civics into action

The Work We Do

VA WtP State Finals

We the People

Instructs students in the history and principles of American constitutional democracy, and promotes civic competence and responsibility among the nation’s students.

Project Citizen

Promotes responsible participation in local and state government, and helps students learn how to monitor and influence public policy.

Teacher Training

Our We the People teacher cohorts engage in a year-long training series with extensive mentorship from experienced teachers and programs with top constitutional scholars.

Joining forces for a better future

In partnership with the Virginia Commission on Civic Education, Virginia Civics is spearheading the Virginia Civics Coalition, a group of organizations and individuals committed to advancing effective and meaningful civic learning policies and practices.

Competitive Students
Teachers Trained
Event Volunteers
National Champions

A Message From Our Co-Directors

Thanks for stopping by to learn about the work of Virginia Civics. We’re about bringing people together and helping students to develop the necessary skills to work through some of our biggest challenges as a community. And while we do live in challenging times, we know that when our students understand our shared constitutional history, when they know how to work as a team, and when they know how to engage in critical thinking, evidence-based reasoning, and civil discourse, our constitutional self-government is always going to work better tomorrow than it does today.

These are the skills that programs like We the People and Project Citizen instill in our students, and that is why we want every student in Virginia to participate in them.

We hope you will join us in this crucial mission. Help us invest in the future of our democracy.

Jen Patja & Emily Voss

Co-Executive Directors, VA Civics

Support us through a donation and consider becoming a volunteer today

Emily Voss

Emily Voss comes to civic education from the museum world, where she was passionate about making museums relevant to the modern world. She currently serves as the Manager of National Programs for the Center for Civic Education. Prior to that, she served as the Education Director at the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier where she spent the past decade developing programs for adult professionals that invited engagement with America’s founding documents. She served as the Virginia State Coordinator of the We the People program for 10 years and is a co-founder of Virginia Civics. Emily holds a BA in History from Gettysburg College, and an MA in Museum Education from the Cooperstown Graduate Program (SUNY). She and her family currently reside in central Virginia.

Co-Executive Director & Chief Programs Officer

Jen Patja

Jen Patja has dedicated her career to strengthening constitutional self-government through her work with Virginia Civics, the Center for Civic Education, and Montpelier’s Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution, where she served as Deputy Director. Jen is a co-founder of Virginia Civics, and serves as a House of Delegates-appointed member of the Virginia Commission on Civic Education, a state legislative commission. She is the producer and editor of “Rational Security,” a weekly foreign policy and national security roundup, and “The Lawfare Podcast,” a daily audio production in cooperation with the Brookings Institution. Jen has held teaching and research positions at the University of Virginia, most notably in Criminology and the school’s University Internship Program with the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. She received her master’s in Sociology from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor’s in English from the University of California, Berkeley.

Co-Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer

Amelia Bochain

Amelia Bochain has devoted her professional life to effective social studies education that fosters civil discourse. As a classroom teacher for nine years, she implemented project-based learning that focused on civic engagement and encouraging effective discussion skills. She is particularly passionate about the We the People program, where she coached teams that placed in regional, state, and national competitions.

State Coordinator