Last night a crowd of almost 300 people sat down in groups inside the Garfield Community Center gym to talk about the challenges faced by youth and their families.
Mayor McGinn told the assembled crowd that his focus on family issues comes from direct feedback he heard in other town hall events during the campaign and transition. He said the overall goal is to bring people together and “identify the biggest obstacles to allowing youth to succeed, and then see what needs to change” to resolve the issues.
According to the mayor, a variety of data shows that we’ve got serious problems. There’s huge gaps in school achievement across the city, with disparities that based on geography, income, and race. One example cited is that citywide, 40% of school kids mis ten or more days of each school year. He told that crowd that we need to better support our youth and let them know that “no matter where you live, where you come from, you can succeed.”
Each group in the gym the broke out and complied a list of challenges, and potential solutions, and the group’s vision for what things should look like in the future.
The top 5 issues identified by my group included:
- Equal access to health care resources
- The high school dropout crises
- Lack of jobs for parents and kids
- More parenting support
- Equal access to and knowledge of resources in our communities
We then brainstormed a list of possible solutions:
- More money for city programs
- Provide thousands of paid internships every year for teens
- Put young people in charge of designing programs
- More community meetings with youth involvement
- More support for varied learning styles
- Identify what works (organizations & programs) and the replicate them
Each group elected a delegate that will take that groups ideas and combine them into a citywide plan at a Youth & Families Congress event that is to be held in June.
Definitely need more money for city programs to address these problems. So did ya’ll brainstorm some solutions to the state budget crisis?
I was lucky enough to be able to help out with another team last night, and the energy and enthusiasm was terrific. The email I received today from the City reported the attendance as over 375!
If we can maintain the momentum, maybe, just maybe we will be able to move a few things in the right direction.
Thanks to all who made this final workshop possible, with Garfield Community Center at the top of the list.
A mayor is supposed to lead. This process of meetings evolves into another meeting in June. WTF? We are wasting time here…some pilot program could be implemented now and feedback by the time the congress meets…
Yes, they always seem to need more money yet get the same results.
there were 9 people in our group – 3 facilitators, 2 people from outside of the CD, and 4 from the CD (one of whom worked for the city). its seemed that there were a lot of city staff there in general – i’d be curious to know the number of actual CD residents that attended.
most comments in our group kept focusing on the schools – something the city has little control over. but we also talked about some of the same types of things in Scott’s group.
it does seem like a long time to get to a programmatic solution. and it is consuming a lot of community hours that could go into other types of neighborhood planning.
this does seem to be the one good thing the Mayor has going though, and is something that we need to get resolved ASAP.