South Bend mayor starts Youth Task Force
In a time where our differences have risen to the top of conversation, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says he wants the city’s youth to be united. That's why he started the Youth Task Force, a group that's been very busy this week working with area schools.
The South Bend Youth Task Force says their goal is to bridge divides and get young people involved in local government. All this week, Buttigieg and the group have been touring high schools in the city, getting different kids at the table to talk about the issues they see on a day to day basis. These had included very open dialogues about biases against other schools, race, cliques, gangs and other tough topics.
Buttigieg believes it's bringing kids into the process of moving the city forward.
"The thought was instead of sitting around at a table saying what's best for high schoolers, let's bring the high schoolers to the table and see what they think," said Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend.
Students on the task force range from 9-12th grade. They have held 6 town halls at different schools to gauge what issues need to be addressed.
"Talking about it is a solution in and of itself," said Rebekah Amaya, a student on the Youth Task Force. "It helps people have a better understanding and that's a way to prevent youth violence and conflict. Once you understand the other side of the aisle you can come together and be more united."
The mayor says he's learning new things through the process.
"The students talk in very real terms," said Buttigieg. "You get a sense of how to better engage and how to better unify people."
Now that the Task Force has met with area students, they will go over their findings at their next meeting, and then devise a plan to present to the school board. We'll be sure to keep you posted on the progress.