Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced that the application period for the New York State Governor’s Youth Council is now open. Individuals interested in applying must submit an application to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) no later than December 9, 2019. The application can be viewed here.
“This council will empower our youth and foster the next generation of leaders in government, business, the arts and science by working on the real issues and challenges they face each and every day,” said County Executive Bellone. “We must continue to create an environment where young people can thrive and there is no better way than bringing them to the table to discuss the policy decisions that will affect them.”
The Youth Council, which was first announced in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address, will increase participatory democracy by involving 62 young people – one youth from each New York State county – to advise the Governor and state and local policy makers on key issues facing young people. Additionally, the council will advise on outreach and communication strategies.
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.
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 Youth Council will convene in Albany for orientation and training and will then be divided into regional teams to focus on specific policy issues.
As part of the council, youth will be trained in basic civics, effective youth voice, understanding state and local budgets, in addition to other topics to support their work.
In order to be eligible, youth must be between the ages of 13 and 21, and must be a New York State resident, U.S. citizenship is not required. In order to ensure diverse perspectives, special consideration will be given to members of historically underserved, disadvantaged and marginalized populations. These populations include but are not limited to: people of color, members of the LBGTQ community, rural New Yorkers, immigrants, people with disabilities (including physical), and people who have limited English proficiency.
Members of the Council will be expected to attend regional in-person and web-based meetings on a bi-monthly basis. County youth bureau directors will provide coordination and adult partnership. Each regional team will work on at least two of the seven topic areas: Education and Careers, Civic Engagement, Women and Girls, Juvenile Justice, Environmental Justice, Youth Violence/Cyberbullying, Sexual Assault and Harassment. The youth members will then make recommendations to the State on how to effectively address concerns regarding the topic area.
Individuals interested in applying can visit https://nysylc.secure-platform.com/a/solicitations/home/1.