Youth advisory committee back on track
Mayor Wayne Redekop meets Mondays with his Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee members Cameron DeBeau, Megan Dale, Rachel Dobbie, Theodora Mollicone, Skyler Harrison, Emily Thomas, Jackson Louws, Craig Amadio and adult advisor Susan Jovanovic. Kris Dube/Special to the Times
After a lull of a couple of years, the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee has been revived.
Its goal is to pay attention to young people in the community and the issues that are important to them, says Susan Jovanovic, the volunteer adult advisor for the group.
“Kids are 20 per cent of the population, but they’re 100 per cent of our future.”
She was asked last September to “pick up the pieces and get the kids back on track,” she said.
“Kids feel like they don’t have a say in anything because they don’t vote. This is an opportunity for them to have a say.”
The plan is to meet eight times a year, “being respectful of the kids’ school year,” she says.
When she took on the position in the fall, her goal was to get new members, and sent out applications. The committee grew from the four members it had to 11 high school students. They are the voting members, and they have chosen an executive so they do all the work, says Jovanovic.
She has also tried to organize opportunities for the kids to do some community work, although they decide themselves what they want to do.
Their first event was to plant a tree in Stevensville last October, she said, and in November they participated in the Christmas parade, helping out in the viewing area set aside for those in wheelchairs.
They have also had a logo contest, and now have t-shirts, water bottles and a flag so they will be visible in the community.
“In December, we went bowling. The mayor joined us. We want to make sure the kids have fun.”
Mayor Wayne Redekop attends their Monday meetings, she said.
When they met this week, they were to plan the projects they want to undertake for the rest of the year, including helping out with the Niagara Parks bee-pollinating garden and the renovation of Crystal Ridge Park.
Serving on the committee gives the students an opportunity to volunteer in their community, along with leadership experience that will help open doors for them in the future.
“I see my job,” says Jovanovic, “as helping to set the kids up for success and giving them a voice.”