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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 youthssimilar 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.

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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 violenceBelknap 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 6 Youth Councilor Alison Jones

Age: 16

Pronouns: She/her

School: Framingham High

Framingham District: 6 

Favorite subject in school: English

Favorite book: The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Favorite musical artist: Surfaces

Last thing you streamed: Criminal Minds 

Favorite fun activity: Soccer

ZOOM happy or ZOOM fatigued? Zoom happy 

Hobbies: soccer, hanging out with my friends and going to the beach

Favorite place in Framingham: Bowditch Field

10 years from now I want to be (career) A lawyer

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Why did you want to be a Youth Council member? To make a difference in Framingham and speak up for the youth of our community.

Do you think there is a divide in the City of Framingham?  If yes, how can it be fixed? If no, why not? With so much diversity there is, unfortunately, a gap of opportunity. I don’t know how to fix this but I know communication and awareness can only help find the solution.

The 13-member Framingham Youth Council represents middle school, high school, and college-age students. What is the biggest issue facing youth in Framingham in 2021? The biggest hurdle facing the youth in Framingham has been the adjustment to new life in covid times. This includes the feelings of isolation, fear and an unknown future

How can the Youth Council encourage more youths ages 13-22 to become engaged in government and their community? Hosting events to show the youth of Framingham that we can make a difference if we put our voices together.

What person has inspired you the most? How? My mom, because she’s taught me to stand up for myself and those who need it.

Adults just don’t understand the impact of the isolation on the youth this past year.

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If money was not an issue, what would make life better for the youths in the city? A wider variety of courses to take in our schools, and better equipped science and technology labs.

Describe Framingham in 3 words: diverse, welcoming and opportunity.

Framingham is missing more town events, such as food truck days, farmers markets and other events where the community can come together.

It would be great if  the superintendent or the head of mental health at the high school ______________ would attend a Youth Council meeting to discuss  __better ways to improve mental health in students ______________.

What have you learned as a member of the Youth Council?  that the process of local government can often take a long time and requires a lot of thought and participation.

What do you want to accomplish on the Youth Council before you leave? I want to vocalize to the younger grades what the affects of bullying are so they have more of an understanding of how serious it is.

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.