A new way for youth to get involved

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EAST LANSING- The new East Lansing Youth Commission is looking for nine new members between the ages of 14 and 18 to help the Council on matters regarding youth in the city.

“The Youth Commission (will be a) governing body made up of East Lansing teens who have an interest in shaping the city,” said Dori Leyko, the superintendent of East Lansing Public Schools, at the Oct. 9 Board of Education meeting.

According to the ordinance, the purpose of this commission is to “engage the youth of the City of East Lansing by actively involving them in the functions of City government, schools and libraries.”

Noah Palmatier is a Michigan State student who formerly served on his high school’s student council.

“One of my best decisions I’ve made looking back is being a part of student council throughout high school,” Palmatier said. “I learned so much of how to be a leader and how to problem solve while collaborating with others. This Youth Commission sounds like that times twenty, which to me means these teens will be able to get even more positives out of it.”

Only East Lansing residents or members of East Lansing schools can apply. The terms are one year from appointment.

“This Youth Commission sounds like an amazing experience for young adults to gain skills that they will use for the rest of their lives,” said Maggie Zanlungo, a former student council member with vast interest in city government. “Being able to communicate with the Council directly and have an actual say on what is allowed in the city is something I wish I could have done.”

The goal of this is to be beneficial to both sides as the youth gain one-of-a-kind experience, while the city is able to better understand the youth perspective in East Lansing.

“One very important thing for kids to learn from a young age is to be an advocate for what is right, and I think being a part of something like this is an excellent way to do that,” Palmatier added. “Being able to see real issues in the city and have conversations with some of the most powerful people with the goal of making society better is a really fantastic idea.”

The Youth Council will meet once a month after it is formed. More information is available on the City of East Lansing website. That is also where to apply.

“I would highly recommend that anyone interested applies, even if you aren’t sure, many times those are the times when it ends up being the best thing,” Zanlungo said.

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