Youth Commission will bring light to issues teenagers face | Guest View

By Stephany Janssen | Jul 27, 2018
Stephany Janssen

Editor's note: The Edmonds Youth Commission is the latest commission to get approval from the Edmonds City Council.

Awareness and action have always been served by the people who have a voice or fight to find theirs.

The Edmonds Youth Commission is a chance for the youth to do just that. This is a chance for the dedication and ideas of the teenagers to be shown, to formulate a place for us that isn’t just in the classroom, and to gain maturity and wisdom on the function of local government.

Individually, many youth have expressed the frustration they have trying to find a voice in Edmonds. The Youth Commission aims to bring teenagers together so those opinions and feelings can be more powerful, and progress can be made in solving them.

One of our many goals is closing the gap between the youth and the adults in the community, which stems from how beneficial we believe it would be. In order to learn and grow prosperously, it is vital to be able to communicate with the adults who are helping form the city.

Creating more organized discussions and plans for how Edmonds can be a better place for youth is one approach we have. But closing this age gap will also create opportunities for critical experience teenagers can gain.

The Youth Commission will be working hand in hand with the Edmonds City Council; through this, the commission participants will gather immediate knowledge on how the civil servants’ jobs work.

Learning about the role of government officials, city bylaws and governmental systems directly is a more influential and more advantageous learning approach for teenagers.

The intellectual gain will be tremendous not only in that way, because this can be a dominating force in addressing issues. In order to do this, elected officials will have to face the task of not only being passionate about a problem, but having the analytical thinking of discovering an effective way of solving it.

As teenagers, we have very creative ideas on how to decipher and resolve important topics because we are constantly being affected by them.

There is often a stigma associated with small communities that believes that many issues received by larger cities are not received by smaller cities. This is one that I personally have experienced when expressing my anticipation in forming the commission.

This stereotype may sound truthful or delusional, but the bottom line is that Edmonds contains racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, depression and all forms of discrimination, just like any place. Many of these issues are widely harbored by the youth in this city.

I myself have alluded to many accounts of sexual harassment I have heard about from my friends and peers, and my own personal experience to the Edmonds City Council when discussing the commission.

The Youth Commission strives to tackle issues like these by approaching the teenage community and hearing their familiarity with such problems. To create resources, a platform, and an organized way to adjust Edmonds surroundings so they are better for us.

We are not only wanting to establish a voice, but also to be proactive in the community.

Depression is an issue that is so incredibly prevalent in the teenage community that it is almost amazing the lack of attention brought to it. However, the main reason for this deficit is being we felt like we had no way to bring it to leaders attention.

Individually, we can only get so far, but with a youth commission that creates an actual program our voices can be heard together and so much stronger. The Kirkland Youth Commission created videos discussing depression and anxiety for the schools and this turned out to be something that continues to be carried out.

The Edmonds Youth Commission will work to create the desperately needed resources and education on mental health just the same.

This youth commission is a bright possibility for increased civic engagement, first-hand awareness and government knowledge, advocacy and a better community for Edmonds youth.

Stephany Janssen has been instrumental in creating the Edmonds Youth Commission.






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