In an effort to improve communication and relationships with members of the Merced City Council, student members of the Merced Youth Council gave a presentation of their current efforts, goals and perspectives.
“We would love to be part of the ‘State of the City’ address,” said Emilie Zuzlewski told city leaders. “Imagine the difference it would make in someone’s life to just hear one of you promote the Youth Council. At the State of the City, and numerous other city events, we envision partnering to impact the minds of the bountiful amount of high school students who sit restlessly in the high stands.”
Other members reported that the Youth Council held town hall style meetings at Merced High School and Golden Valley High School to promote involvement. They held signups for park cleanups, held Q & A sessions, and started new clubs.
The Youth Council’s research from these events showed a majority of local teens (47 percent) would like to see more music and dance events in town. A close second (45 percent) wanted more community festivals, followed by sports activities, job fairs and internship opportunities.
More than 55 percent of local teens, according to the council, said the biggest problem for young people in Merced was that there wasn’t enough job opportunities, followed by the idea that there were not enough places to shop at, and “nowhere to hang out.”
And as far as the “Biggest Overall Problem in Merced,” the youth council reported that 84 percent of the local teens interviewed said it was: Homelessness. Other problems receiving high percentages were “litter,” “not enough for youth to do,” and “empty buildings.”
Interesting, when asked “How many events do you think go on per month in Merced?” more than 61 percent of the teens polled said “less than two.”
The City of Merced Youth Council is looking for more members. The Youth Council is made up of 7 members and may appoint non-voting junior high or high school members to help achieve their goals. Applicants are interviewed by existing Youth Council members after completion of an application and will then be reviewed by staff for final recommendation to City Council. Students must be 13 to 19 years old and be a Merced resident. Members will be appointed to a two year terms, with a maximum of two terms being served. Public Youth Council meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 678 W. 18th Street. Members of the public, especially youth, are invited to attend and comment or ask questions on any matters of concern or interest. Call 385-6855 for more information, or visit 632 W. 18th Street for an application.