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Boston young'uns to play with $1 million for city projects

Last year, young people enhanced community parks, installed security cameras, granted Boston Public Schools Chromebooks, and funded a skateboard feasibility study.
Shari Davis, Executive Director of Youth Engagement and Employment, representing BostFrancesco Tena, City of Boston

For the second year in a row, thousands of Bostonians between the ages of 12 and 25 will decide how to spend $1 million in city money.

Mayor Marty Walsh on Wednesday announced the continuation of the Youth Participatory Budgeting Process allocating $1 million to Youth Lead the Change, a youth-led participatory, budgeting vote.

"By engaging our young people in city government, we are training the next generation of leaders to think critically about how government can better serve our residents,” said Walsh.

Last year, young people voted to fund seven projects that enhanced community parks, installed security cameras, granted Boston Public Schools Chromebooks, and funded a skateboard feasibility study.

"This is empowering young people not only to understand the process, but what it means to work on a capital project and see how it gets designed and implemented," said Shari Davis, Executive Director of the Department of Youth Engagement and Employment.

Two Lead the Change hosts brainstorming sessions are set for: Friday January 30 at 3:30 p.m. at Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center on Ash Street and another onThursday, February 5 at 4:30 p.m. at Hyde Square Task Force, 361 Centre St.

Stephen Lafume, a high school student in Boston, participated in Youth Lead the Change, and is now engaged in a number of city youth initiatives.

“Last year, I went to an assembly in South Boston at the Condon Community Center to brainstorm ideas,” said Lafume. “I really liked the idea that the Mayor trusted the youth with how to spend a million dollars. Later, I applied to join the Mayor’s Youth Council. I was skeptical at first, but it turned out to be really fun.”

Ideas will be narrowed down this spring, and youths will vote on the projects in May.

 
 
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