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Richfield’s city commissions seeking youth representatives

Post Date:09/06/2019

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The youth of this country take action. They refuse to sit on the sidelines and dream of a better world. They see a vision for the world they want to live in, and they work hard to make those dreams a reality.

Richfield’s youth are doing just that by getting involved in government and participating in city commissions.

The city’s Advisory Board of Health, Arts Commission, Community Service Commission, Friendship City Commission, Human Rights Commission and Transportation Commission all have youth commissioners.

The city is currently looking for youth interested in joining one of these six commissions. Applicants must be at least 15 years of age and currently enrolled in a high school or equivalent (e.g. home-schooled) in Richfield.

Youth commissioners have the same rights and responsibilities as their adult counterparts.

“Not every city has youth representatives on their commissions,” said Assistant City Manager Pam Dmytrenko. “Richfield youth are an important part of the city’s population, including them on our commissions provides city administration with a more holistic view of what residents want and need.”  

Richfield’s youth commissioners are an integral part of each commission because they bring a different worldview than adult members.

“I have the privilege of meeting and interacting with Richfield youth regularly and I am always impressed with the fresh and innovative ideas they have,” said Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez. “When it comes to government, most decisions are made by adults who have similar worldviews. Our youth commissioners bring a different perspective to proceedings that benefit the city greatly.”

Participating in city commissions also help youth develop important skills for the future.

“If youth want to eventually bring about meaningful change they need to learn how the system works,” explained Gonzalez. “Being a youth commissioner builds leadership skills and exposes them to a variety of nuanced topics that they can leverage in the decades to come.”

Adult commissioners regularly mention how impressed they are with their commission’s youth members. 

“Our youth commissioners know their voices are heard and they influence commission outcomes,” said Dmytrenko.

The purpose of the city’s commissions is to plan for the future. Richfield’s youth are the future, so their opinions on what Richfield should look like 10, 15 and even 20 years from now is important because that is the Richfield they are going to inherit from their parents.

“Youth want their voices to be heard,” said Dmytrenko. “Becoming a youth member of a city commission is one of the best opportunities to have their voices heard in Richfield, as well as influencing how the city will look like in the future.” 

To learn more about the responsibilities of a youth commissioner or to apply, visit: http://www.richfieldmn.gov/youth-commissioners

Youth interested in an appointment to a city commission should submit a completed application by September 30.

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