Youth face issues head-on

Mayor, staff support teens in a unified effort

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Nearly 150 Tempe middle and high school students came together to learn about civic engagement and public policy at the Tempe Youth Talks event. The event, held at Tempe Preparatory Academy, welcomed students and city leaders for a morning focused on exchanging ideas and exploring social challenges that face young people.

Tempe Youth Talks, overseen by the Tempe Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission, gives area youth a chance to engage with city leaders and offer input. Throughout the morning of the event, students heard from MYAC commissioners, who gave TEDx-style talks about issues including diversity, equity and inclusion; environmental justice and sustainability; unhoused solutions; and youth mental health.

Mayor Corey Woods welcomed the students, the day culminating in a panel discussion and Q&A with city of Tempe experts who regularly address topics of current interest. Among speakers were Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Velicia Humes; Youth Climate Action Coordinator Evelyn Brumfield; Human Services Manager for Homeless Solutions Jessica Wright; and CARE7 Youth Specialist Tristyn Rivas. Community decision-makers, including school board members, business leaders and public-service agencies, were on hand to listen and engage with the students.

The event was aimed at helping youth develop ways to make a difference in the community. Input gathered from throughout the day will be included in the annual MYAC report and submitted to the mayor and City Council for their consideration and guidance relating to programs and policies. The commission was established in 1980 in response to issues youth typically face, such as teen violence, pregnancy, substance abuse, depression and availability of recreational opportunities. The commission’s membership consists entirely of area youth and reports directly to the mayor and City Council.




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