Youth Council makes a difference

As mayor, one of my priorities is making sure that Boston’s youth have the opportunities and support they need to engage in their communities and address the important issues they are faced with every day.  Each year I have the privilege of working with 17 of Boston’s finest young people on the Mayor’s Youth Council.  These young leaders represent every neighborhood in the city and play an active role in addressing issues important to them and their peers.

 The Mayor’s Youth Council is not only an essential resource for teens living in the city, but it is also a valuable opportunity for these teens to take active roles representing their neighborhoods and dealing with the issues their peers face.  The outstanding young people I have worked with over the years have thrived in their roles, gaining valuable leadership experience and helping to enact positive changes and make the city a better place.

 The Youth Council acts as an important resource for me as well, serving as my eyes and ears in the neighborhoods and providing valuable insight into the lives and issues facing our youth.  I meet with our Youth Council representatives on a regular basis to listen to their concerns and suggestions on improvements the City can make in youth-oriented efforts and we work together on developing solutions.  Our youth advocates also serve as city ambassadors, reaching out to Boston teens and letting them know about existing opportunities within the City. 

 As summer approaches, the city is again offering youth the chance to get involved with the City of Boston Summer Jobs Program.  For more than 20 years, the Boston Youth Fund (BYF) has employed Boston youth in a variety of positions across the city.  Teens work as camp counselors, tutors, and mentors placed in nonprofit organizations that serve younger children through camps, sports and enrichment programs, gaining not just a short-term job, but valuable life skills and experiences that will provide long-term benefits. Our summer jobs participants this year will serve at over 300 worksites ranging from City Departments to community and faith based organizations in the Boston area. 

 It is critical that our young people have these opportunities to learn, thrive, and succeed.  Their hard work, whether on the Youth Council, in summer jobs programs, or through various other organizations across the city, helps to make our city a better place to live – not just for youth, but for all of Boston’s residents.

 Applications for the Mayor’s Youth Council will be accepted until April 15 and are open to teens who will be entering their junior or senior year in high school or an alternative program the following September.  A representative from each neighborhood will be chosen and Boston residency is required.   

 Teens interested in the summer jobs program can register 24 hours a day online at bostonyouthzone.com by clicking on the Youth Fund/Hopeline link.