Local Youths Give Ideas for Programs in City Budget

July 3, 2014
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Over the past few months Charlestown youth had their say on how the city’s budget could help programs near and dear to them or what they would like to see improved in the neighborhood.

Last week, Mayor Martin Walsh announced the winning projects of the ‘Youth Lead the Change’, participatory budget initiative with Charlestown projects making the final cut.

Youth in Charlestown asked Walsh and the city for Chromebooks for Charlestown High School. The students of Charlestown High will receive approximately 30 Chromebook laptops. This will enhance student performance by providing them with the latest technology, allowing them to easily acquire information for academic assignments.

Youth here also asked for a Skate Park Feasibility Study. A feasibility study will now be conducted to explore the most sustainable methods of design and ongoing care for implementation of a skateboard park.

Young people from across the City were instructed, by the Mayor’s Youth Council and other supportive partners, how to create guidelines from the voting process, and develop a ballot, which included 14 projects.

Voting polls were stationed at local train stations, youth centers, and school buildings slated for a citywide vote, and youth determined how to spend $1 million of Boston’s capital budget. Over 1,500 eligible votes came in from Boston residents between the ages of 12 and 25.

“I was extremely impressed by the projects that made it onto the ballot,” said Walsh. “The winning projects will make positive and meaningful change in the lives of Boston residents throughout the City. The City budget is not taken lightly, and these young people were dedicated and passionate, becoming a driving force in the way our community process is run. This is only the beginning, and I look forward to seeing all of the great things our young Boston leaders have lined up for the future.”

Voters were able to select up to four projects on the ballot. Projects were divided into the following categories of Streets and Safety, Parks/Environment/Health, Community and Culture and Education

“This process engaged youth throughout the City to develop proposals that will offer great benefits to communities across Boston,” said Chief of Health and Human Services, Felix Arroyo. “The voices of our youth were heard, and I am really excited to see more change agents get involved with Youth Lead the Change.”

Youth Lead the Change will launch its second year in September with a call for steering committee members.

“Youth Lead the Change is a community process making way for a new form of democracy that young people can take part in, celebrate, and see real change as the result,” said Shari Davis, executive director of Youth Engagement and Employment.