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.