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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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At-Large Youth Councilor Chloe Mills

Age: 16 

Pronouns: She/her/hers 

School: Framingham High

Framingham District: District 5 

Favorite subject in school: TV Production and Spanish 

Favorite book: 500 Words or Less by Juleah Del Rosario 

Favorite musical artist: Either Ben Rector or Gregory Alan Isakov 

Last thing you streamed: Knives Out 

Favorite fun activity: Team sports

 ZOOM happy or ZOOM fatigued? ZOOM fatigued 

Hobbies (pick up to 3): Sports and baking 

Favorite place in Framingham: Saxonville Mills or the high school 

10 years from now I want to be (career) I would like to be in school to pursue a higher degree in 10 years but after that, I would like to work for the FBI. 

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Why did you want to be a Youth Council member? 
I wanted to be a Youth Councilor because I want to make a difference for my peers and all of the Framingham youth that follow in our footsteps. Our age group should have a voice and I am honored to be a part of that.

Do you think there is a divide in the City of Framingham?  If yes, how can it be fixed? If no, why not?  Yes, I think that there is a divide between North and South Framingham. I think that one way that could start to be fixed for youth would be to have more recreational activities held throughout the entire city, not just in one part.

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? 
I think that the glaringly obvious issue is the pandemic, but I also think that because of the pandemic, mental and emotional health issues have been at the forefront.

How can the Youth Council encourage more youths ages 13-22 to become engaged in government and their community? 
We can do our best to reach out to our community and take the initiatives ourselves to educate our peers on the knowledge we have gained from being on the Youth Council.

What person has inspired you the most? How? 
My teachers inspire me the most because they are great role models who care about their students as well as heavily impacting the way our generation views the world.

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Adults just don’t understand 
that our generation is overloaded with stress in every aspect of our lives and that we cannot do everything that is thrown at us all the time.

If money was not an issue, what would make life better for the youths in the city?
 I would build more schools and hire more teachers because our school system is already overpopulating and we need to proactively do something about it.

Describe Framingham in 3 words: 
Unique, resilient, diverse

Framingham is missing 
more public events that specifically target attendance in both North and South Framingham. 

It would be great if Congresswoman Katherine Clark would attend a Youth Council meeting to discuss the functions of federal government vs. city government and the differences in processes at each level of government.

What have you learned as a member of the Youth Council?  I have learned a lot about leadership and how municipal government works. 

What do you want to accomplish on the Youth Council before you leave? 
I want to make it clear to the youth of Framingham that no matter how small, they can have a say in our city and that they will always have at least the Youth Council they can come to if they want something addressed.

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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.