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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 3 Youth Councilor Esther Celoy

Age: 17

Pronouns: she/her 

School: Framingham High

Framingham District: 8

Favorite subject in school: history 

Favorite book: how to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnagie 

Favorite musical artist: szabrent faiyaz, and Kehlani

Last thing you streamed: an audio book

Favorite fun activity:  yoga 

ZOOM happy or ZOOM fatigued? Zoom fatigued 

Hobbies: yoga, taking pictures, and listening to audio books

Favorite place in Framingham:  Shoppers World 

10 years from now I want to be (career) have a degree in sociology with a minor in business management working as HR at a Fortune 500 company 

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Why did you want to be a Youth Council member?
I enjoy working with people and for people, the youth council gave me just that 

Do you think there is a divide in the City of Framingham?  If yes, how can it be fixed? If no, why not?  I think there is a divide in the city of Framingham pertaining income mostly. But the city of Framingham has been implementing luxury apartments all around downtown and I think this will help to remove the divide. 

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? 2020-21 has not been an easy year for anyone and I think that we can all say that these couple of years have taken a toll on many aspects of their life’s . It has effected social life , jobs family situations and much more. 

How can the Youth Council encourage more youths ages 13-22 to become engaged in government and their community? The youth council can work on educating youth about stereotypes about the government.

What person has inspired you the most? How?  My eighth grade math teacher. She was not only a math teacher to me but a mentor that guided me and allowed me to have persevered into the person I wanna be. Thank you.

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Adults just don’t understand : social media 

If money was not an issue, what would make life better for the youths in the city? A second high school 

Describe Framingham in 3 words:
warm, quite, full of culture 

Framingham is missing:
more POC (person of color) restaurants 

It would be great if Governor Baker  would attend a Youth Council meeting to discuss police violence

What have you learned as a member of the Youth Council?  I have learned a lot of things. I didn’t know that we voted and other things besides the primary. 

What do you want to accomplish on the Youth Council before you leave? Make the city of Framingham a better place for the youth

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.