During the month of May, the Youth Commission saw the year coming to a close, but also a new year fast approaching! At the beginning of April, MYCers were very busy recruiting youth for the 2016-2017 Youth Commission. Once recruitment was all wrapped up, our Selection Committee (made up of our two staff and eight youth commissioners) conducted interviews in May. Selection Committee successfully filled the seats for next year's Multnomah Youth Commission (middle photo: some of our incoming youth commissioners)!
It was also during this month where the Youth Commission had its last official meeting of the year. It was a busy meeting full of great conversations and work getting done. Of course with all the work comes the fun. MYCers and staff spent a Sunday afternoon together at the G6 Air Park where we jumped, played dodge ball, and had dinner together. This was the last time that the full Youth Commission for 2015-2016 would be together, so with this in mind, we had our celebration to honor the MYCers who are not returning to the Youth Commission next year as well as reflect on our growth as youth leaders.
The Youth Commission will be going on break for the summer, but before we do so we want to welcome the 2016-2017 Youth Commissioners! During our June End of the Year Potluck Celebration (bottom photo) we said our last goodbyes to the folks who are moving on and introduced the incoming MYC members. The celebration ended as we, outgoing co-chairs, we passed on the gavel to next year's Co-Chairs Lexi Moyer and Lashawn McCarthy! We know they will do amazing next year.
Thank you for your support this year!
Blanca Gaytan Farfan & Yessica Mulet
MYC Co-Chairs 2015-2016
I travel all over the world, but always stay in my corner. What am I?
Answer to last month’s riddle: A fruit that is all up in its peelings
Name: Lisa Frank
Years on the MYC: Only 1 year as a Commissioner - but I've been involved with MYC in various fashions since 2005!
Tell us about yourself:
I am a life-long Portlander. I went to Lincoln High School and then studied Government and Spanish at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. I now work for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, a non-profit that works to create healthy, sustainable communities where people can meet their daily needs by bike. I'm passionate about immigrant and workers' rights and LGBTQ issues. I also love running, hiking, and have recently started rock climbing. I'm also engaged with Portland's young Jewish community, which hosts a lot of different events like services, happy hour, etc. And whenever I can take a long weekend, I fly to Tampa, Florida to visit my girlfriend who is in grad school there.
How did your experience on the MYC help shape your goals?
My first job was working for Mayor Tom Potter to implement "Our Bill of Rights, Children + Youth." Not only did that inspire me to run for mayor or city council one day, but it was my first experience working in government on policy and political issues that mattered to young people, and that's what I've been passionate about doing ever since.
One of the biggest achievements from when I was on MYC was winning the YouthPass campaign to get free bus passes for all Portland Public High School students. It really opened my eyes up to what was possible and how civic engagement didn't just feel good, it actually can make a big difference.
What do you remember most vividly about your time on the MYC? Do you have a favorite memory?
I remember many retreats; they were always such a great experience. One of my most vivid memories was from an early retreat when I was in about 8th grade. We did a "step forward, step back" activity to learn about privilege. MYC has changed the way they do that activity many times so that it wouldn't reinforce privileges/disadvantages in the same way stepping forward and back does. But it was very impactful.
Anything else you would like to share?
Thank you to my MYC mentors: Josh Todd, Lacy Hawkins, Elizabeth Kennedy-Wong, Karin Hansen, Tom Potter, Nate Waas Shull, Pam Phan and Marc Fernandes. Thank you to all the MYCers I served with, alumni who paved the way, and all of you who are dedicating yourselves to making your community better for young people!
Name: Noe Alonso
Years on MYC: 2015-16 cycle
I heard about the MYC through the City Club of Portland Civic Scholars program. The Civic Scholars program exposed me to civic engagement and it was then when I discovered that I needed to become more involved.
I applied because I wanted to help make my community a better place. I wanted to make a positive difference. Seeing people being ignored by those in power made me want to do something other than just listen and complain. I wanted to take action. The MYC was the perfect place for youth like me to take action.
Tell us about yourself:
I am a native Oregonian that loves the outdoors and meeting new people on a daily basis. I have lived with my father and my younger sister in East Portland for most of my life. Living in a low-income household has helped me develop skills and abilities that I know will help me throughout my life. I love working with younger youth, especially in ways that will help them develop skills and goals that will aid them in achieving their full potential. I will be attending Emory University this fall and I hope to learn many new things in a completely new environment.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know that I used to read a lot during my last few years in elementary school. I read the entire Harry Potter series in less than two months!
Education/Youth Voice Committee
One of our biggest achievements of the year was on April 27th, when we hosted the Youth Candidate Forum at Benson Polytechnic High School. This two-hour event consisted of youth engaging in dialogue with candidates who are running for City and County positions. MYC and community youth successfully interacted, engaged and challenged candidates on issues important to youth. We closed off the evening with a raffle for youth who had attended, and each candidate made their closing statements. Youth were given ballots and the opportunity to vote for each open position. Visit our website to see the result of the youth vote. (Please note: the vote does not represent an endorsement by the MYC, Multnomah County, or City of Portland).
Another important part of our work for the past few months has been conducting community engagements in various schools throughout Multnomah County and the City of Portland. These schools and organizations included Roosevelt H.S., Benson Reconnection Center, New Avenues for Youth, Rosemary Anderson North H.S. and Centennial Park School. Youth in these communities have shared their knowledge and we will use the information we gathered to inform our work moving forward, specifically in prioritizing our policy recommendations as it relates to Chronic Absenteeism. We are wrapping up our work for the year and have outlined things to tackle this next MYC year, such as analyzing the data we collected, “power-mapping” (having a diagram showing our relationship with other local organizations), as well as a document written with ally experts on pediatrics and sleep disorders. During the summer, our committee will meet the last Tuesday of each month to help prepare our presentation for the summer retreat to onboard new members.
Submitted by Nicolas Avendano and Ender Black, members of Education/ Youth Voice
In April, we presented to County Commissioners McKeel and Shiprack about our funding ask for Transit passes for Youth Experiencing Houselessness. We received valuable information and guidance as we move our work forward. Additionally, we also met with representatives from the Multnomah County’s Homeless Youth Continuum (pictured bottom right) to further explore a possible partnership and how transit passes would be handled if awarded, along with trying to involve youth served by their organizations directly into our work, making sure their voices are at the table.
Lastly, we focused on finalizing our brochure and making a plan for next year’s work. As the year comes to an end, the Sustainability Committee says goodbye to our Portland State University partner students, Cassie, Courtney, and Isabelle. These students have helped us create a committee brochure, look back at our focus group notes, create the connection with the Homeless Youth Continuum, and so much more. We will miss our partner students! In the future, Sustainability hopes to solidify our brochure, meet with the youth that the Homeless Youth Continuum serves, and get a better understanding of government and people in decision making power. We also can't wait to invite new members onto our committee, and the commission, during our MYC retreat.
“Sustain and maintain!”- Committee sign off.
Submitted by Lexi Moyer member of Sustainablity
The Youth Against Violence Committee (YAV)
Over Memorial Day weekend YAV members were invited to talk about our committee’s work at a choir concert about standing up against violence. It was a great experience to share our work and inspire other youth to get involved in their communities. Additionally, Youth Against Violence has been reconnecting with Tamera Lynne, Artistic Director of Living Stages, a local theater organization that helped us facilitate our Youth and Police Pilot workshop at Roosevelt H.S. Over the summer we will participate in a two-day facilitators training series offered by Living Stages. This training will be helpful for us as we go into this coming year with scheduled Youth and Police workshops. Our first Youth and Police workshop will be with students at Portland Youth Builders. Lastly, as a committee, we have reflected on our work over this past year. As the year comes to an end, we are finishing as much as we can, as well as doing some work planning to prepare for this upcoming MYC year. We will be taking a break for the summer, and ready to work hard when we return.
Submitted by Charity Dunlevy-Todd co-chair of YAV
We want to take a moment to say goodbye to our members who will not be returning next year. From top left to right: Christine Juliette Morgans, Christopher Luchini, Kaz Leffel, Nicolas Avendano, Yessica Martinez Mulet, Dylan Kenney, Alex Zhang, Kaiya Laguardia, Noe Alonso, Grace Ramstad, Daniel Weidman, Brooke Graham, Watson Kendall, Juanguillermo Perez-Torres and Cleo Forman.
All the work you have put toward implementing youth voice in local government, whether it was a year, two years, three years, or four years, has been incredibly valuable and important. We will miss you all and we know you will all do great things in the future. We are looking forward to your future accomplishments and know you will be great allies to youth when you’re older. Thank you for your leadership, voice and experience. We will miss you all.
To our partners: Thank you for your continued support and helping us achieve an authentic youth-adult partnership. Without you this work wouldn’t be possible.