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OCFS reaching out to kids to serve in NYS Youth Council

Just a couple of weeks into the new year and the State Office of Children and Family Services is reaching out to youths to serve on the New York State Youth Council, according to a news release.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is looking for 62 young people — one from each county — to lend advice on key issues facing young people today. That includes how to look at things, how they affect young people, and how to get the message out.

“Young New Yorkers have so much to offer and their unique perspective is vital as the state shapes new initiatives and policies impacting youth throughout the state,” said OCFS Commissioner Sheila J. Poole.

“Youth voice is essential as we work together in addressing the many challenging issues affecting their daily lives.”

The Youth Council will provide policy recommendations on education, youth violence, the opioid crisis, juvenile justice, environmental justice, cyberbullying and civic engagement. It will address issues that are of particular relevance to young women and girls, including sexual assault and harassment, female empowerment, economic opportunity and wage parity.

“Young people want to be engaged and have a strong voice in government,” said Dr. Nina Aledort, OCFS deputy commissioner for Youth Development and Partnerships for Success.

“We, as policy makers, need to hear from the youth who will be directly affected by the laws we create in Albany. The New York State Youth Council will be the platform from which young New Yorkers will be heard and its members will gain valuable experience in the democratic process and being agents of change.”

The Youth Council will be run by youth, ages 13 to 21, who will develop its organizational structure and prioritize key issues, and its members will gain hands-on experience in the democratic process. The members will serve two-year terms. Once selected, the council will convene in Albany for orientation and training and will then be divided into regional teams to focus on specific policy issues.

Interested youth must submit an application that includes an essay and a video demonstrating their interest in one of the council’s focus areas — maybe how it affected them, an idea to help, a solution. Candidates will be selected based on character, leadership, academic achievement, civic engagement and community service.

Youths may apply at https://nysylc.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/home/1.

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