Six young people selected to sit on St. Paul’s boards and commissions in the new “Youth on Boards” initiative – Twin Cities
Six young community members were approved by City Council to serve on three city of St. Paul’s boards and commissions as part of the Youth on Boards initiative this week.
Youth on Boards is a collaborative effort between St. Paul Parks and Recreation and the St. Paul Public Library through their Right Track and Sprockets youth initiatives to introduce youth to civic engagement and local government.
The program is open to 14 to 21 year olds. They will serve on boards and commissions in St. Paul with the goal of including young people in city-level decision-making.
“We always say that young people are the future leaders, but they are affected by all the decisions we make now and now, they are part of the decision making that impacts their lives,” said Shaina Abraham, the Program Supervisor for the City’s Right Track Youth Employment Program and the St. Paul Youth Commission. “The other aspect that I think is really important is that we help young people find other ways to get involved in public life and to engage civically in our community. “
The following individuals are appointed by St. Paul City Council and the boards of directors on which they will sit:
- Abas Kawo, at the Commission for Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunities.
- Abdul Mohamed, Commission for Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunities
- Jizelle Lobley, Business Review Board.
- Everlyn Granda, Business Review Board.
- Ryan Vue, Capital Improvement Budget Committee.
- Abshir Ali, Capital Improvement Budget Committee.
Those who participated in the Youth on Boards program attended a summer training session that taught them about local government, how to serve on boards of directors and how to engage with the community. They then had to be appointed by the mayor and approved by the city council.
“I am passionate about social justice and equity for under-represented groups,” Abdul Mohamed, a young person appointed to the Commission on Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity, said in a statement. “Working to create equal opportunity and opportunity for others seems like the perfect commission for me and I can’t wait to get started. “
According to Abraham, a few other cities across the country have similar programs in place and other cities across the state are trying to do the same. “It’s really vital to hear from members of our community and when we leave out an entire segment of our population, we don’t hear from members of our community,” she said.
Erica Prosser, deputy director of Parks and Recreation at St. Paul, expressed that decisions made in boards and commissions sometimes go unimplemented for years.
“Young people are the ones who see the benefits of investments, so it is really the city that benefits from the participation, input and insight of young people,” she said.
The other four participants in the pilot program were appointed to the transportation committee and the community financial empowerment committee. City Council will determine their approval in the coming weeks.
The recruitment process for next year’s Summer Academy begins in December. For more information, email [email protected] or visit the Right Track website. They hope to expand the program from the 10 members they had this year to 20 members next year in all city boards and commissions.