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$1 million in City Budget dedicated to engaging youth in budget process

January 28, 2015

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the continuation of the Youth Participatory Budgeting Process and the allocation of $1 million to Youth Lead the Change, a youth-led participatory, budgeting vote.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the continuation of the Youth Participatory Budgeting Process and the allocation of $1 million to Youth Lead the Change, a youth-led participatory, budgeting vote.

"By engaging our young people in city government, we are training the next generation of leaders to think critically about how government can better serve our residents,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am proud that we will be able to build on last year’s success and continue to give Boston’s youth a voice in their future.”

Last year, young people voted to fund seven winning projects that enhanced community parks, installed security cameras, granted Boston Public Schools Chromebooks, and funded a skateboard feasibility study.

Youth Lead the Change (YLC) is carried out by the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment, in close collaboration with a steering committee comprised of twenty six community and youth serving organizations. The Participatory Budgeting Project facilitates the implementation of participatory budgeting nationwide, and works closely with Youth Lead the Change.

Youth Lead the Change will has hosted several brainstorming sessions for this year’s projects. The following sessions are as follows:

  • Friday, January 30th at 3:30pm: Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, 38 Ash Street, 02111
  • Thursday, February 5th at 4:30pm: Hyde Square Task Force, 361 Centre Street (behind Blessed Sacrament Church), 02130

“Many people were surprised by how insightful and responsible our young people are when invited to engage in democracy,” said Shari Davis, Executive Director of the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment. “This process proves that young people are capable and essential in building infrastructure and developing healthy communities.”

Stephen Lafume, a high school student in Boston, participated in YLC and is now engaged in a number of City youth initiatives.

“Last year, I went to an assembly in South Boston at the Condon Community Center to brainstorm ideas,” said Lafume. “I really liked the idea that the Mayor trusted the youth with how to spend a million dollars. Later, I applied to join the Mayor’s Youth Council. I was skeptical at first, but it turned out to be really fun.”

“MassCOSH has had a long and positive relationship with the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment over many years,” said Colleen Armstrong, MassCOSH Steering Committee Member. “Youth Lead the Change was an opportunity for us to deepen that relationship in a new and exciting way.  As an organization, MassCOSH is invested in youth-led programming and hearing youth voices as leaders. YLC is a new, innovative way for our peer leaders and other youth across Boston to have their voices heard and show that they are adept and recognizing and responding to the issues in their communities.”

  Ideas can also be submitted through the Youth Lead the Change website, or by texting 844-YLC-LEAD.