The Children’s Trust (TCT) and Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) moderators posed tough questions to panelists about strategies to get the youth involved in the community on Tuesday, Jan. 26
The forum was led by YAC members Alejandra Gomez and Edgar Otero at Tallahassee City hall.
YAC is a youth leadership program, open to Miami-Dade County students, that gives teens the opportunity to be active in the community. According to TheChildrenTrust.org, TCT is a dedicated source of revenue established by voter referendum to improve the lives of children and families in Miami.
After-school, health and nutrition, youth employment and parenting are some programs offered by the TCT.
There were two panels with the youth on one side and adults and legislators on the other side. The panel discussed the youth being disenchanted from civil engagement.
According to the American Psychological Association, civil engagement is individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern.
The panelists believed education, politics and social media play a role in the disenchantment.
Sonoma State alumnus Kevin Baron was a speaker at the forum. He was the government affairs director of an independent advocacy organization. Baron is now the civil engagement coordinator at the Bob Graham Center in Gainesville.
Baron said young adults have to take it upon themselves for opportunities that will help them reach their goals.
“Young adults have to take the initiative to receive actions to accomplish specific goals,” Baron said. “There are opportunities for the youth involvement such as college scholarships and internships.”
Bob Graham Center educates and prepares students for their role as a citizen to understand the symbolic relationship between government and society.
Kori Wallace, a junior at Coral Reef Sr. High in Miami, said hard work is the key to success.
“Nothing you want in life will come easy,” Wallace said. “You have to work hard in order to be successful.”
Spalding University alumnus Michael Malone is the community engagement administrator of TCT and advisor of YAC. He received his M.F.A in writing at Middlebury College and Florida International University.
Malone joined the committee September 2006 as an editor and writer. Malone believes every child plays a vital role in the community.
“Civil engagement was our spring 2016 service learning project and the children are learning while being engaged with hands-on experience,” Malone said.
For more information on YAC visit thechildrenstrust.org or call (305) 571-5700