Beth Deluco is the executive director of Civics First Inc., a nonprofit group that promotes law-related education projects in the state’s public and private schools. Beth and Civics First are really making a difference in our youth’s lives by pushing for Connecticut schools to teach more civics. She also is a Girl Scout Leader, PTO co-president, a Relay for Life committee chair, and an attorney.
- Beth, did you always know that you wanted to serve others and help today’s youth?
I started coordinating large-scale events in college and got involved in mock trial competitions as an attorney and things have just escalated immensely from there. I seem to get more and more involved in volunteering for different organizations all the time. Many revolve around my daughter’s school and activities but some are also in conjunction with my good friend who runs a lot of charity events.
- Can you walk us through how you first got started in your career path?
I always wanted to be an attorney. After six years of practice I was looking for something different. I started helping with the mock trial competitions as a young attorney and my involvement with Civics First grew over time. I went from practicing law to teaching high school government and became even more involved with Civics First as a part time employee. When I had my daughter I was fortunate enough to be able to start working more consistently for Civics First and quit teaching. It was a natural progression to Executive Director when my former boss and mentor retired.
- How did you handle the bumps in the road? Were there any moments when you wondered if all your hard work was worth it?
I have gotten much better at handling “bumps” over the years. I sometimes have coaches that are unhappy with their team results and I have had phone calls on Saturday nights at home or after 9 p.m. during the week from coaches looking to either change results or get information. However, I try to help everyone with their requests as quickly as I can and we do not typically change results unless there was an error. The fact that we have a reputation for being so accommodating to requests and available at all hours is good for Civics First but a challenge for me personally.
- I’m wondering if you can help us understand what you attribute your success to.
I am a very organized and efficient person. I greatly enjoy planning large-scale events and traveling around to different schools. My job is never boring and there is always something new I can try and something different to get involved in. My father is a huge influence in my life. His favorite saying is “Never, never, never give up” by Winston Churchill and I have definitely inherited his ambition, passion, persistence and drive.
- What do teens need today more than anything else?
Teens need a lot!! It is very important for children of all ages to be engaged in their learning rather than being lectured or reading from a text book. The students that don’t like Civics are the ones that have teachers that don’t think outside the box and don’t use creative and active projects and programs like Civics First offers. It’s the events and hands-on activities and programs that students and everyone remembers and truly teaches people how to get things done. They may not think about making a difference yet but if they are given the tools when they are younger then when they are older and an issue becomes important to them they will already know that they can do something about it.
- Beth, what would you tell a teen who was struggling?
“Never, never, never give up.” There is always a way to accomplish your goals. Sometimes all it takes is a dedicated mentor to guide them.
- What else do you want to tell us about what you do and what you want to eventually be doing?
I love my job. I enjoy making an impact on children’s lives and mentoring children in how to accomplish their goals, give back to their community, get involved, and organize and plan events. I want to continue what I do for the rest of my career as well as adding more programs and competitions and mentoring on a larger scale.
- Can you please share with all of us something else that I should have asked you?
Civics First runs on grant funding and donations. These programs cost money and we can use all the support we can get. We just this weekend got approved to host the 2017 National High School Mock Trial Competition in Hartford in May, 2017 which will take a lot of funding. We will be looking for every available dollar and fundraiser we can get our hands on. It is a huge opportunity not only for Civics First but for Hartford and Connecticut in general. It will bring about 900 people to our city/state!!
- How can people get in touch with you if they have additional questions?
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always available to answer questions, help people get our programs into their schools and accept donations and volunteers.
Thanks for your time Beth and keep up the good work! Our youth needs more people like you!
Author and Speaker of the Granddaddy’s Secrets teen leadership book series.
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