Columbus, Ohio, Listens to Youth

By Haehle, Heather | Nation's Cities Weekly, November 28, 2005 | Go to article overview

Columbus, Ohio, Listens to Youth


Haehle, Heather, Nation's Cities Weekly


Columbus, Ohio, is no stranger to the problems that plague big cities. Poverty, violence and crime exist, but city government and residents of the city are working to provide their young people with a great place to grow up.

The Columbus City Council is concerned about the needs of young people and has created an avenue to address their problems and provide the resources they need to thrive.

For more than three years, youth in Columbus have made their opinions heard through the Columbus Youth Commission (CYC), an advisory group formed in collaboration with the Columbus City Council and Mayor Michael B. Coleman, a member of NLC's Council on Youth, Education, and Families.

Twenty-one teens and young adults ages 13 to 21 participate.

The mission of CYC is to provide leadership in the development of priorities and a comprehensive agenda for youth.

This includes:

* developing recommendations and solutions for youth issues;

* linking youth initiatives and programming to enhance service, increase awareness and promote the efficient use of resources;

* developing, organizing and hosting an annual Youth Summit;

* developing methods to measure the overall results and impact of the commission; and

* providing an annual report to the mayor and city council regarding youth programming in the Columbus area.

"Columbus' mayor is committed to serving all of its citizens, and we can't do that if everyone's voice is not represented," said Tei Street, Columbus Youth Commission chair. "Young people should be at the table to give adults guidance and feedback in addressing and redressing their own issues."

Councilman Kevin Boyce, the youngest person in the history of Columbus to be appointed to the council at the age of 28, partnered with the Community Relations Commission to create the CYC through legislation.

An adult advisory committee was appointed by the mayor to act as a support system to the CYC's adult coordinator and to assist with legal questions, fundraising and chaperoning. …

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