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Kansas City leaders looking to launch youth council to enact change, called KC Future Commissions

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Posted at 5:18 AM, Jan 05, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-05 10:15:48-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “What we hope to see from them is, we want to see them take on a role that is more robust and have more responsibility than ever before,” said DJ Yearwood.

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Youth in Kansas City hope to have a seat at the table, or in the chambers.

“We see the level of challenges that are faced by young people at the local level not just in Kansas City buy everywhere and it becomes increasingly important to create those voices when creating those solutions,” said Yearwood.

DJ Yearwood an intern with Councilwoman Melissa Patterson Hazley, 3rd District - At - Large worked alongside her and other organizations to draft a plan for the Kansas City youth commission called The KC Futures Commission.

Patterson Hazley’s office along with the help of Councilman Willet created a task force to review the proposed structure, draft bylaws, etc. and their feedback was used to make adjustments. The biggest change that came from the task force was to add 6-7 adult commissioners to each commission as non-voting, volunteer mentors, to the proposal.

The KC Futures Task Force

The Transition Zone (Jackie Buycks)

Youth Guidance (Garret Webster & Briana Butler)

*Garret Webster served on the Youth Commission under Mayor Sly James

High Aspirations (Brian Johnson)

KC Greek Picnic (Stanley Taylor)

Partners For Peace (Carly Mitchell)

The final preparation they are doing is conducting focus groups with diverse young people.

Upcoming Focus Groups

Park Hill High School

Boys and Girls Club (Thornberry Unit)

Maddie Rhodes

This commission, will allow youth to work on challenges impacting our neighborhoods, with 2 councils for kids ages 13-18 and 19-25 that will come together quarterly to discuss issues in Kansas City.

“Some of those challenges might be working to spread awareness around violence or to engage the at risk youth at the local level,” said Yearwood.

Challenges that Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks - Shaw and Councilwoman Melissa Patterson Hazley say could use the voice of the future generation.

“Many of the youth unfortunately are experiencing a lot of trauma and are experiencing a lot of the gun violence and crime that we are seeing in our community,” said Mayor Pro term Ryana Parks - Shaw

“As a teacher as a college professor, I know that we have very bright youth around the city that we can engage in terms of what our advocacy of city council members should be, they really should be leading that effort and telling us what to do,” said Councilwoman Melissa Patterson Hazley

Councilwoman Patterson Hazley says Mayor Lucas and City Council leaders will be asked to appoint members

Planning to introduce legislation later in January, The ordinance Patterson Hazley, Mayor Pro- Tea and Yearwood are writing asks to establish the KC Futures Commission, which will empower all elected officials to make appointments to the commissions, if passed.

This ordinance or a companion ordinance will be introduced to establish a dedicated city staff person and a modest inaugural budget.

“The public support and getting commission to look into whether or not they want to serve on the commission after it’s passed all of those things are great next steps,” said Yearwood.