South Bend Common Council, NRC rebooting Youth Advisory Council

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- In collaboration with the Neighborhood Resources Connection, the South Bend Common Council is rebooting its long-standing Youth Advisory Council. 

“We felt that there was an important need to really engage with our youth,” said SBCC vice president Karen White. 

Nine teenagers, one from each council district, will be selected. 

In order to be eligible, teens must live within South Bend city limits and be in 9-12th grade. 

Over the course of the school year, members will learn about concerns, assets, and opportunities in each South Bend neighborhood by working with neighborhood organizations. 

It’s an arts-based curriculum so, for example, the YAC may learn about a problem Rum Village residents face through a public art project. 

“It really is designed to introduce them to government and also to community involvement, but also give them the best practices and skills in regards to, What are the skills a leader must have? How do you communicate? How do  you engage?” said White. 

An ordinance passed by SBCC in August granted the YAC legislative power, so the kids can present and work on solutions with the common council. 

“They will learn the importance of engagement, the importance of working with diverse personalities,” said White. “They will be introduced to different types of issues that we have in our community, but most importantly they will learn how to work together, collectively, and really move forward as a group.” 

A $10,000 grant awarded to the NRC and matched by the city makes the revival possible. 

White says SBCC started the YAC in the early 2000s but eventually stopped it. She says the goal of the new YAC is to create strong, young leaders who can effectively organize grassroots change. 

“They will be able to understand how the city operates, but also they’ll be able to engage with various neighborhoods,” said White. “It’s an excellent learning experience. They will learn so much about our city but most importantly they will learn a lot about themselves.” 

Applications are open until Sept. 20. 

To apply, click here.

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