Applications open for Yolo Youth Commission

Winters High School senior Cesar Llanos-Garcia and Yolo County Superintendent Garth Lewis participate in a roundtable discussion during the Youth Empowerment Summit on March 16, 2019. Photo by Matthew Keys/Winters Express
Winters High School senior Cesar Llanos-Garcia and Yolo County Superintendent Garth Lewis participate in a roundtable discussion during the Youth Empowerment Summit on March 16, 2019. (Express File photo)

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Special to the Express

WOODLAND — Applications for the first-ever Yolo Youth Commission are now available and all youth interested in engaging with and for their community are encouraged to apply. Once formed, the new youth commission plans to convene monthly to discuss community issues and better understand the needs of youths and teens in Yolo County.

The youth commission will be comprised of 15 members. To reflect the diversity of the county, three members representing each of the five supervisorial districts will be selected. Commissioners will be appointed for a one-year term and may be reappointed for one additional one-year term.

To be eligible for the youth commission, youths must be between the ages of 13 and 18 and reside in Yolo County. Youths do not need to be enrolled in Yolo County schools to be eligible.

The application for the youth commission is available online at www.bit.ly/YoloYCApp22 and the deadline to apply is Sept. 30. There is no cost to participate.

County leaders hope to encourage youths who are not traditionally involved in leadership activities to join the new commission. Youth applicants do not need to have any prior work or school experiences to be eligible for selection.

“I encourage any young people who are interested in making a difference in their community to apply for the newly created Yolo Youth Commission. We need youth voices from all sectors of our diverse communities in the County,” said Supervisor Oscar Villegas. “I believe our youth actively engaging in local governance is critical in shaping stronger communities in Yolo County where they can thrive.”

The youth commission expects to select commissioners by November and plans to start meeting in January 2023. Youths who are selected will assume an active role in local government. In addition to monthly meetings, youths will also receive leadership training and development opportunities to support them in their role as community representatives.

“The Yolo Youth Commission will provide a platform to engage and support young people throughout our County. I have always seen youth as a resource. Their voices are fresh and critically needed in shaping our shared future,” said Supervisor Don Saylor. “This commission will build on efforts in our communities and the annual Youth Empowerment Summit (YES!) by establishing an ongoing action and leadership forum for young people.”

The Yolo Youth Commission is a partnership between the Yolo County Office of Education (YCOE), Yolo County, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center in Oakland.

In May, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to establish the youth commission as a two-year pilot program and authorized YCOE to administer the program. The pilot is being funded by county cannabis tax revenue with additional grant funding from the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center.

Once formed, a key function of the youth commission will be conducting an annual review of grant proposals to youth-centered efforts or youth organizations serving Yolo County. A total of $160,000 per year will be available for youth-centered grants during the two-year pilot.

YCOE will be hosting information sessions to allow youths to ask questions about the application process or other general questions about the youth commission. Dates, times, and registration information for the information sessions will be posted on the Yolo Youth Commission website at www.ycoe.org/youthcommission.

The Yolo Youth Commission invites members of the community to follow future commission activities on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YoloYouthCom or Instagram at www.instagram.com/yolo_youthcom.

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