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 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.
At-Large Youth Councilor Avi Padayachee
School: Framingham High
Framingham District: District 2 (mayoral appointment)
Favorite subject in school: History
Favorite book: Renegades by Marissa Meyer
Favorite musical artist: The Weekend
Last thing you streamed: Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Favorite fun activity: Video Games
ZOOM happy or ZOOM fatigued? VERY ZOOM fatigued
Hobbies: video games and hiking
Favorite place in Framingham: Library
10 years from now I want to be an astrophysicist or entrepreneur
Why did you want to be a Youth Council member?I wanted to help make real change in my city and I felt that the Youth Council was the perfect opportunity to do so.
Do you think there is a divide in the City of Framingham? If yes, how can it be fixed? If no, why not?
No, It may be because of our current situation during the pandemic but I feel overall Framingham has been a unified city
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?Quarantine learning. We have been stuck at home for just over a year now and tons of students are feeling the side effects. As growing young people, we have not been able to socialize in school which is the place we spend the majority of our time. We spend upwards of 7 hours on computers for school and even more for our free time. Our eyes and brains are currently feeling the effect of being on the computer for such an extended amount of time.
How can the Youth Council encourage more youths ages 13-22 to become engaged in government and their community?
We can make them realise what a great opportunity it is to be a leader. That they can make a change in their city and make it better for us all. The youths can speak up about their personal experiences and can hopefully get the change that they have been wanting.
What person has inspired you the most? How? Martin Luther King Jr. and his ways of making change in a good way.
Adults just don’t understand what it is to be a kid in this generation. Most parents and adults have not been youth for so long that the times have changed drastically, they don’t know what it’s like to be a kid now. Therefore it makes it harder for them to make changes when they don’t understand what has really changed.
If money was not an issue, what would make life better for the youths in the city? An activity/youth center where youth can hang and use their time productively, similar to the YMCA
Describe Framingham in 3 words: Diverse, large, cultural
Framingham is missing More representation in public services
What have you learned as a member of the Youth Council? I learned what it is to be a leader and try to make change in the community. I learned how the municipal government runs this and I now have knowledge that will help me in the long run
What do you want to accomplish on the Youth Council before you leave? I wish to be able to do something this year that can make me feel proud at what the Youth Council has accomplished since I joined. I would like to set up a proper plan of action that can be implemented in the coming years of Youth Councils.
Editor’s Note: Avi chose not to submit a photo with his Q&A profile