Youth are an integral part of our society. Their voices are a valuable and necessary resource to the health of our community, not only as future leaders but as leaders of today. This fall the Berkshire District Attorney's Office launched an exciting new youth initiative that brings students' ideas and concerns to the table.

On October 28, 2008 District Attorney Capeless was joined by Senator Benjamin B. Downing in recognizing twenty five Berkshire County high school students on their appointment to the Youth Advisory Board. District superintendents worked with high school principals in the selection of these outstanding students who will represent not only themselves, but also their individual high schools as members of this Board. The newly-created Board provides an opportunity for students to express their concerns about current social issues affecting youth within our County and to share their opinions and ideas on how we as a community can best address those issues. Engaging students in civic activities allows them not only to understand government but also affords them a voice in changing the negative social norms often associated with youth.

Students can surely make a positive difference in our schools and communities. The creation of this Board allows the Office to tap into the passions and innovative ideas of our youth and work in partnership with them to develop solutions to some of the problems negatively impacting the quality of life for young people in Berkshire County.

The Youth Advisory Board will work with the Office in the planning of community outreach and education youth initiatives, assist in the development of enrichment programs for students in grades K through 12, create public awareness campaigns which recognize and promote positive youth behavior, and participate in prevention programs and activities which focus on community health and safety.

District Attorney Capeless said, "I was pleased to meet with these exceptional students who exhibit a desire to serve as a voice for their peers. Their creative energy and passion for learning bring an enthusiastic attitude to the vision of this new Youth Advisory Board. I look forward to working together in the year ahead to create projects that will have a positive community impact."