The newest members of the Chelsea Youth Commission are making sure young people have a say in the policies that affect young people in the city.
At a public meeting last week, the commission hit on a number of topics, from the potential construction of a skate park in Chelsea, to the possibility of installing benches with charging stations as a way to get young people to gather in the city.
Several of the commission members, including Emily Menjivar and Fatima A. Mendoza updated the commission on recent public meetings with GreenRoots, where the possible construction of a skatepark was discussed.
Nathalie Pardo, the programs manager for Community Recreation who helps facilitate the Youth Commission alongside Omar Miranda of Chelsea Community Schools, suggested the commission members do further research into cities across the country where youth-led groups have built skateparks.
Commission members also broached some innovative ways to increase engagement among Chelsea youth.
“Cambridge has installed benches with solar chargers where you can charge your phone,” said Mendoza.
Pardo said the benches encourage people to stay in one place long and can have a positive impact on a neighborhood and that it could be a worthwhile project for the Youth Commission to take a longer look at.
The meeting also touched upon conducting a youth needs assessment in Chelsea.
“The best way to establish the needs is to establish conversations, to talk to the youth to see what they really need,” said Miranda.
Pardo and Miranda also raised the question of whether young people in Chelsea would get behind the idea of a teen recreation center.
Mendoza said a teen’s interest in a recreation center could depend upon whether or not they were already involved in sports or other school or recreational programs.
Several commission members discussed the possibility of the Youth Commission partnering with the public library or other groups in Chelsea to sponsor movie or game nights, or other activities of interest to young people.
The mission of the Chelsea Youth Commission is to advise and assist the City Council, the School Committee, and the City Manager in the development of policies, programs, and delivery of services for the health and welfare of youth and their families.
“The City wants this group to be as creative as possible and do as much as possible, and it has the full support of the City Council and the City Manager,” said Pardo.
Other commission members who attended last week’s meeting were Salma Jabri, Carla Garcia, Fatima Prudencio, and Britney Alcazar.