With Youth Movement Building, Tukwila Teens Provide Leadership Model
Thursday, April 5, 2018
TUKWILA, Wash – A youth movement has emerged in the discussion about gun control. In Washington state, young people are making their voices heard, too.
One program in particular is serving as a model for ways to get the next generation involved in local decision-making. Teens for Tukwila provides leadership opportunities and a chance for young people to speak with city officials.
Nate Robinson, teen program specialist with the City of Tukwila, developed and coordinates the program and says it's creating a partnership between youths and adults to tackle issues in Tukwila, the most racially and ethnically diverse community in the state.
"When it comes to planning for programs, when it comes to implementing programs, when it comes to everything that has to do with a program, activity, event,” he says, “there is a need for both the youth to bring something that they have to the table and a need for the adult to bring something to the table as well."
Teens for Tukwila meet and discuss a wide range of topics including education, jobs and teen drug use. For the fourth year in a row this May, the teens will meet with Tukwila City Council members. The council recognizes the group as an official voice for young people in the community.
With police shootings facing increased criticism, Teens for Tukwila has met with the local police department to discuss their relationship to the community. Robinson says the group brings authentic voices and young people's experiences to the people in power.
He says it's something that's missing in a lot of places.
"At these decision-making tables, a lot of decisions are being made without the voices or the input or the perspective of a lot of these marginalized groups,” he says. “And I think young people are among those marginalized groups."
In order for young people to become a bigger part of the conversation, Robinson says leaders will have to take intentional actions to include them.
"We are going to have to share power, and I feel like that is the ultimate hurdle. It's a huge hurdle, it's a big hurdle, but I'm about small victories,"he says.
Many members of the program have graduated and are using their skills in college or their careers. The program is an example of an out-of-school strategy being promoted by School's Out Washington and the state's Civics Learning Initiative.
get more stories like this via email
By Tom Perkins for Planet Detroit.Broadcast version by Mark Richardson for Michigan News Connection with support from the Solutions Journalism Network…
By Jared Brey for Governing.Broadcast version by Deborah Van Fleet for Missouri News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism Network-Public New…
South Dakota is once again locked in a debate over a bill concerning transgender youth. It seeks to ban gender-affirming care, with supporters …
While the Pennsylvania House is still out of session and won't resume until late February, the public and advocacy groups are voicing their concerns…
Better health and educational outcomes are being touted as the potential benefits as Minnesota lawmakers discuss whether to provide free school meals …
CORRECTION: YouthTruth surveyed more than 28,000 high school seniors from the class of 2022 and the class of 2019 in 19 states, including New York…
For more than two decades, a workforce development program in El Paso has invested in the economically disadvantaged to help them attain the …
Health and Wellness
Nebraska's long-term care facilities face staffing shortages and other factors that could lead to more closures if state funding isn't increased…