michael_ivory_web.jpgMIAMI — Students ranging in age from 15 to 18 years are the new faces at Miami-Dade County Hall as local leaders officially have welcomed the county's first Youth Commission.

The commission, conceived by Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan, was developed to provide young residents an opportunity to learn about and participate in county

government by articulating the issues and needs of youth in the community.

In their new positions, the Youth Commission members will advise the mayor and commissioners on matters and programs affecting the youth and teen population.

The Miami-Dade Juvenile Services Department, under the umbrella of the county's Violence Intervention Project, has also been behind the initiative's implementation.

The swearing-in ceremony and certificate presentation was held at County Hall on Dec. 19.

“Since the Youth Commission was installed in March, they have met on a monthly basis to discuss issues affecting all youth in Miami-Dade County,” said Commissioner Jordan. “It makes me so proud to see how these bright, young minds move forward and develop such an understanding on how local government works.”

Each commissioner appointed a student representing each of the secondary schools in his or her district. The appointments were made based on nominations by Miami-Dade County Public Schools and an orientation process. To qualify, students had to be in the 10th, 11th or 12th grade, have a minimum 2.0 grade point average, demonstrate a sincere interest and motivation to work for the community and have a background in community-based activities.

Some responsibilities the selected members will be charged with include fostering increased youth involvement in county government, holding forums on issues concerning local youth, recommending community programs beneficial to youths, commenting on proposed legislation impacting youths and submitting an annual report of activities to the County Commission and mayor.

In addition, each member will meet on a quarterly basis with the official who appointed them to discuss teen and community issues of concern. The Youth Commission will meet at the call of the chairperson or at the request of the majority of the membership, but no less than once a month. The group will be subject to Florida’s Government in the Sunshine and public records requirements. Members will serve one-year terms, and can serve only two terms at most. 

The Youth Commission is currently focusing its efforts on preventing violence in schools and is planning a community event this year. The first meeting was televised and took place in the Commission Chambers at Government Center where pertinent youth-related issues were discussed.

For more information, contact Commissioner Jordan's office at 305-375-5694.