Detective Democracy is like voting's McGruff, Smokey, or Rosie that seeks to motivate young people to participate in government and received national credibility and legitimacy when Central Michigan University senior, Allison White, presented the idea on a full travel scholarship to over two hundred conference attendees at, "A Better Deal '09: Securing Our Economic Future NOW!" October 15th in the Palladian Room at the Omni-Shoreham hotel and conference center in DC.
White was one of only thirty conference attendees that received a full travel scholarship to be housed for two nights at the four diamond resort. White was one of only two Michiganders to receive the scholarship.
Detective Democracy started as an in class project at central the fall of 2008 in White's political science class on lobbying called "Interest Group Behavior" with Dr. Cherie Strachan.
Students were assigned to read Tamara Draut's research book, "Strapped: Why America's Twenty and Thirty Something's Can't Get Ahead" in which Draut clearly identifies problems facing millenials and why they can't seem to make it like our parents did and then students were asked to respond.
Students were given the pants of a policy maker.
"The more real students make their projects, the more likely they are to earn an A," said Strachan.
White kept working on Strachan's in class project out of class in her spare time for nearly a year after she had completed the class.
"I was really poor and I realized that it didn't cost anything to think. I focused my thoughts and daily conversations about Detective Democracy and talked with people about my idea. It's turned into our community project now, and I am living my American dream--it's amazing." said White.
"I have a van. I have a plan," White said.
White wants to take Detective Democracy and work with the Ad Council and Rock the Vote to launch a pilot motivational speaking program called "The Knowledge Tour" this August to connect with high school students in San Francisco, California.
"You can dream a little dream or you can live a little dream. I'd rather live it because dreamers always chase but never get it," White concluded.