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FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham City Council unanimously voted to create a Youth Council in 2019.

The 13-member Youth Council was created after then Framingham High senior Isabella Petroni wrote an ordinance asking the legislative branch of the City to change the Charter to create a committee focused on the city’s youths similar to the Council on Aging which is focused on the City’s senior citizens.

The Youth Council is comprised of four at-large youths — two appointed by the at-large City Councilors and two by the Mayor for 2-year terms — and nine district Youth Councilors, appointed by their district counterpart on the City Council for a 1-year term.

The Youth Council created its own rules in its first session, and learned about how the city operates, inviting the Mayor, the Framingham Public School Superintendent, the School Committee Chair, and several City Councilors to its meetings.

The Youth Council had planned to host a Youth Summit in 2020, but plans were put on hold due to the COVID pandemic.

The Youth Council meets typically on Sundays twice a month, and has five subcommittees.

The Council this session has proposed ordinances on voting age and menustral products, taken positions on several issues including gun violence, Belknap pool, and focused on mental health, school re-opening plans, and social justice issues.

The Council has also held sessions with State Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis, Rep. Maria Robinson, Keefe Tech Superintendent Jonathan Evans and Framingham Superintendent Bob Tremblay this second session.

As the Youth Council has not been able to hold its planned youth summit yet or conduct outreach & engagement in-person, SOURCE asked each Youth Councilor to participate in a Q&A to introduce them to the community. The Q&A sessions will publish this month.

The City Council will be taking applications for the third session of the Youth Council later this spring with appointments to start on July 1, 2021 and to end on June 30, 2022. Framingham youths from middle school, high school, and college, ages 13-22 can apply.

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District 1 Youth Councilor Jordan Summerfield

Age: 16

Pronouns: She / Her

School: Framingham High School 

Favorite subject in school: Sociology 

Favorite book: Ginny Moon

Favorite musical artist: Dan + Shay

Last thing you streamed: Levitating by Dua Lipa

Favorite fun activity: Going to the beach

ZOOM happy or ZOOM fatigued? ZOOM fatigued 

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Hobbies: Swimming, Photography

Favorite place in Framingham: Mad Willie’s Ice Cream

10 years from now I want to be (career): Working in business

Why did you want to be a Youth Council member? To contribute to the betterment and growth of Framingham.

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Do you think there is a divide in the City of Framingham?  If yes, how can it be fixed? If no, why not? I believe that every city has its challenges, and I am hopeful that the work we do on this youth council can help to address these divisions and strengthen the community as a whole.

The 13-member Framingham Youth Council represents the middle school, high school, and college-age students. What is the biggest issue facing youth in Framingham in 2021?: Mental health is one of the most significant issues currently facing youth in Framingham (and elsewhere). The pandemic has introduced multiple stressors into the lives of young people that we must now contend with.

How can the Youth Council encourage more youths ages 13-22 to become engaged in government and their community? I believe that the Youth Council can encourage more youths to become engaged in government and their community through initiating outreach to collaborate with other communities.

Who has inspired you the most? How? I’ve been particularly inspired by my teachers this year. They have learned how to navigate a challenging situation while inspiring students and that’s something I believe we can all learn from. 

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Adults just don’t understand what it’s like growing up with social media.

If money was not an issue, what would make life better for the youths in the city? More teen-oriented public spaces.

Describe Framingham in 3 words: Diverse, Dynamic, and Devoted

Framingham is missing  family-friendly entertainment and activities.

It would be great if an MCAS representative would attend a Youth Council meeting to discuss standardized testing.

What have you learned as a member of the Youth Council? As a member of the Youth Council, I have learned a lot about local government, committee procedures, public speaking, and taking on new responsibilities.

What do you want to accomplish on the Youth Council before you leave? I would like to continue inspiring other cities to form youth councils in addition to encouraging individuals to become involved with their local government.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.