Youth board members talk about their year
Six seniors-to-be talked about their year on the Beaverton Mayor's Youth Advisory Board, including their trip to the National League of Cities conference.
The six are among the 20 members of the board, which represents 10 high schools and are chosen for two-year terms.
"The conference was a great opportunity to explore current issues facing cities across the nation and discover solutions we all could implement," said Ethan Myers from Arts and Communication Magnet Academy.
Myers and the others spoke at a June 18 meeting of the City Council during the board's annual presentation.
Marcel Kida of Westview High School said students attended discussions ranging from redlining practices of lenders to the funding of education and juvenile justice, the latter intertwining with the 2018-19 board's focus on youth homelessness.
Nuzhat Maisha Hoque of Oregon Islamic Academy said the advisory board, which was founded in 2000, selects a topic for special attention every year. Beaverton has led Oregon school districts in counts of students without permanent shelter.
The youth sessions ran concurrently with the league conference March 8-13 in Washington, D.C., and the city paid for the youth trips.
Gabriela Moreno of Southridge High School said the Beaverton students joined their counterparts on the Hillsboro Youth Advisory Council in meeting Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, whose district takes in Washington County.
A couple of them also attended a Democratic Municipal Officials luncheon, where they met U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu of California and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey. Lieu is a former Torrance city councilor, and Booker a former Newark mayor.
Sophie Slack of Westview High School said the youth board also works with other city panels, such as the Beaverton Committee for Community Involvement, Diversity Advisory Board and Human Rights Advisory Commission.
"We feel that youth members have different perspectives and experiences that we can use to provide valuable insights that are unique to us," she said.
Rohan Wagh of Sunset High School said board members also put on an annual summit for youth, assist with efforts to aid refugees and homeless youths and families, and volunteer time at community forums.
"I fully expect that one of these days, a graduate (of this board) is going to be sitting up here," said Councilor Marc San Soucie, a former liaison to the board. "So which one is it going to be?" he asked to audience laughter.
Councilor Lacey Beaty said youth participation is important but often lacking in local government. Beaty and Laura Mitchell are the only council members under age 40.
"Definitely having your voice in the mix is important," Beaty said.
"It doesn't have to be every voice. But we need a voice at the table so that other voices are not drowned out or disproportionately represented."
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