The Mayor’s Youth Cabinet for this month kicked off last week with a 5:30 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, March 10. Following the meeting, the cabinet members toured the City Council Chambers before the council meeting began, and the cabinet “mayor” was able to sit in on the meeting next to Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, and see how the meeting was run.
“It’s an opportunity for them to feel as if government is part of their lives. Even though they can’t vote, I want them to understand how decisions we make do affect them, and have them have an opportunity to have a say,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “They’ve talked to me about parks, they’ve talked to me about the schools, they’ve talked to me about, we need more skate parks; why can’t we have a food truck festival? All kinds of interesting things, and I try to connect back to the departments that are responsible.”
“We started it in the spring of 2018 – right after I was elected. It attracts anywhere from a half dozen kids to 30 kids, depending on the department. When we do the tour of the police department, their numbers increase. Sometimes we compete with school activities, which is tough,” said Zoppo-Sassu.
The Youth Cabinet Program is free and gives youth an opportunity to become familiar with local government, add experience to their resumes, earn volunteer hours and connect with other students.
Each month, Youth Cabinet Leaders attend different meetings for a variety of city departments. Leaders meet for 30 minutes prior to the meetings to discuss hot topics.
The program is best-suited for middle school and high school ages, but is open to all ages who want to participate, Scout troops, home-schoolers and other youth groups.
For more details about the youth cabinet, call Youth and Family Coordinator Kyana Anderson at 860-314-4690.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jamila Young, email her at News@BristolObserver.com.