By Kenneth John Catimbang, Kristian Bekele and Micah Tam
In media and society, teenagers are often portrayed as lazy, defiant or disruptive (the list goes on.) However, there’s a group of teenagers in Redwood City who challenge that exact idea.
Once a month, the Teen Advisory Board meets up at the Red Morton Community Center. Teenagers from all over the Redwood City area come together to talk about community problems and methods to help better the local area.
Students from various high schools throughout Redwood City are a part of this organization. In these meetings, a broad theme is applied, such as community service, which in the past has meant helping out at parades and other events happening around the city.
At the Nov. 1 meeting, the main focus was on the environment. The students brainstormed ideas ranging from neighborhood trash pickups to raising money to donate to a nonprofit charity that sends water to developing countries.
After sharing ideas, the board agreed on plans to help the local elementary and middle schools grow gardens on site. In executing this project, the local youth will be educated about healthy living and maintaining a home-grown diet.
The Teen Advisory Board was created with the purpose of building a bridge between Redwood City officials and local teenagers. According to Emma Hernandez, co-director of the board, “When you see teens … there’s a negative aspect to them. When you bridge that gap, it helps any city see that teens care. You guys are the voice of the city [and] make a very big impact.”
When asked about the main goal of the board Ms. Hernandez said, “[To] build the teens with the community. Hear the teens’ voices. Listening to the teens and what they want as opposed to just guessing.”
The Teen Advisory Board does just that. Teen participants have voiced that it builds their own character while giving them the opportunity to volunteer and voice their opinions.
President of the Teen Advisory Board and senior at Sequoia High School Sara Osorio described how being a part of TAB changed her when she said, “I’ve always been very shy. Because I’ve been president it’s given me the opportunity to branch out and be a leader. I want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable with sharing their ideas.”
Osorio went on to explain how TAB defines and actively participates in her community. “Being the voice for our community. Because I don’t think everyone is represented. What better people to ask but teens because we’re the future.”
Summit Prep senior and TAB participant Tyler Sheppy summarized his view on Teen Advisory Board by saying, “It really shows teenagers in our community because it shows we want to make the environment and community a better place.”
If you’re interested in joining the Teen Advisory Board, visit this website to start your application today.
Below is a slideshow of pictures from the Nov. 1 meeting of the Teen Advisory Board:
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