Pat Johnson, Chair, Governor's Statewide Youth Council
When we first applied to the Governor’s Statewide Youth Council we were drawn because of the way in which it had started. This council began from the ground up; its creation stemmed from tragedy, but in turn created new hope. This opportunity intrigued us because not too often is a force for input met with a need for it.
The council was and has always been a symbiotic relationship between young people starving to serve and political minds starving for fresh perspectives. The Governor said at the swearing in that, “we created the council because you asked for it.” Since then the membership of the council has formed a bond and a team mentality that none of us could have expected when we applied.
Many of us have overgrown fears as members of this council, some of us couldn’t stand in front of a crowd of our peers before and others had never met someone who had been a gang member before or someone who had experienced abject poverty before. What has come out of this bond is that a youth from Lawrence has grown a bond with another from Pittsfield. And a youth from Brewster with another from Springfield. Our council has become a symbol of hope for the future of our commonwealth. One in when we are not bogged down by petty regional differences, but share a stake in our far away neighbor’s future. It matters that the livelihood of a youth in Methuen matters to a youth in Shrewsbury.
No matter what we have accomplished at the end of the day nothing can transcend the fact that we accomplished it with a spirit of unselfishness and common aspiration. It’s not the seven meetings we’ve held or the more than dozen activities and forums in which we’ve participated in that matter to us, it’s the fact that we’ve created a model for people of all walks of life to work with a common purpose, that’s power.
From Elizabeth: The Council is focusing on Youth Violence Prevention and Education in the first year, share your experiences and suggestions with them and each other as comments.
Another way to get involved is a great event coming up this fall. The Youth Council and the Dept. of Public Health are co-hosting the 2009 Youth Initiative on Saturday, October 24, 9- 4 at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlboro, MA. For more information email: