Engaging Youth in Their Communities’ Governance

Last month, The Villager posted an article regarding new legislation signed by Governor Cuomo that will allow teens, starting at age 16, to participate in New York City community boards. Overall, the idea seems promising. Socially minded teens, formerly excluded from these bodies, will finally have an outlet to voice their concerns about the community, addressing problems that affect them directly.

While the article’s author Dusica Sue Malesevic doubts that these 16 and 17 year olds will have the experience necessary to make decisions on fund allocation or land use, the inclusion of teens on community boards is nonetheless a welcome idea among youths, especially those who have a particular interest in governance.

By allowing teenagers to participate in local government, the young politicians and their peers will feel that they have a higher stake in government, in contrast to the prevailing apathy regarding politics amongst this demographic. After all, those who are civically engaged from a young age tend to remain so for the rest of their lives, compared to their counterparts.

As a young voter, this is welcome news to me. Getting young people involved in politics at an early age, especially at the local level, is extremely important in determining the outcomes of future elections and ultimately, laws that will affect coming generations. At LaunchProgress PAC, we encourage youth civic engagement, especially for those that come from diverse backgrounds and are committed to improving their communities. Getting involved on community boards could be the first step. Another way for these types of people to get involved is to actually run for public office within their communities, and LaunchProgress PAC is here to help and support them during their campaigns.

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