Panel seeks answers to teen issues

By Katie Cartwright

The issues of school violence and safety, teen sexual pressure and youth drug abuse are topics often avoided by both the youth they affect and by adults.

At the city of Tempe’s Youth Town Hall, held March 30, the issues were addressed not only by students but adults seeking practical solutions to challenges teens face virtually every day.

Approximately eight students were chosen per high school and up to six per middle school. Corona’s students were Kim Bistany, Amy Carr, Jeffery Cooper, Natalie Gatz, Quincy Hall, Emily Trusty, Eric Williams, Johnny Beerling and Holly Benson.

The Youth Town Hall program has been an annual event for 25 years and is put on by the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission. MYAC is a committee of middle- and high-school students whose members meet twice a month to plan and discuss possible solutions to issues encountered by Valley teens.

Members are chosen through a process of nomination and applications completed througheach school. Three are chosen from each high school and one from each middle school.

This year’s MYAC chairperson is Corona del Sol sophomore Taylor Walton.

“It (Youth Town Hall) is a really neat program that gives kids a day to come up with solutions, I took part in eighth grade and fell in love with it, and this year really wanted a leadership role in the program,” explained Walton.

Walton spoke at the Youth Town Hall event to explain the three topics that MYAC selected prior to the event and gave directions to the students to meet in there committees to come up with solutions for their topic.

The committees were to create a proposal of possible ways to carry out the plan and then present it to the entire group at the end of the day.

After the event the mayor and the city council work together to put the ideas into action along with MYAC who is responsible for presenting proposals to the school boards.

With approximately 125 participants Youth Town Hall is a program for the youth to step up to leadership roles and take part in community decision making.