Profile: Boston Mayor's Youth Council

June 3, 2013

Youth making a difference in the lives of their peers.

Here's a quick look at the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) in Boston, Massachusetts, which was launched in 1994. During its 18 years of serving the Boston area, the youth-led council has accomplished a lot of great things.

Youthline

One of the first big projects the council took on was creating The Mayor's Youthline, a peer listening and resource hotline for the youth of Boston. It is staffed by peer listeners. Bostonians can call or search the web-based Youthline for information about everything from day camps and after-school programs to good places to eat, etc. The staffers as Youthline are also there to listen to people who need to share something with someone else.

Just how do the teen staff know what local supports, services and programs are avaiable? They map a lot of them themselves; youth collect information about programs and activities happening in and around Boston and then enter that information into the Bostonavigator database.

Mayor's Youth Summit

The MYC also organizes a Mayor’s Youth Summit every year that brings over 1,500 Boston youth to celebrate Boston’s young people. The goal of the summit is to showcase the resources available to the city’s youth and to highlight their talents. The summit brings in over 100 organizations geared toward youth. It is a great way to connect youth to the great resources that are available to them and to connect them to peers across the city.  The result is a stronger, better connected youth community.

One of the events that takes place during the summit is the awarding of the Positive Image Awards. These awards are presented to Boston youth who have been nominated because they have accomplished impressive goals in their communities and schools. This is a great way to recognize youth that are doing real changemaking in their communities and make them role models for other youth who want to make a difference.

A Focus on Youth Health & Fitness

In order to address the rising health problems facing youth, the MYC teamed up with the Boston Centers for Youth and Families and the Boston Public Health Commission to create a free fitness challenge for Boston youth. Participants sampled a variety of group exercises such as zumba and bootcamp as well as participate in solo fitness challenges. The council also organized events for youth to learn about healthy lifestyle choices and had local chefs show how to make healthy snacks.

The Boston Mayor’s Youth Council is doing a lot of great things for Boston youth. This is one youth council to keep tabs on. I can’t wait to see what other great projects they come up with in the future. Great job!

- Grant Jirka



Grant Jirka is a first-year biomedical engineering, pre-med student at Duke University. He joined the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council in April 2012 and has been involved in other various state and national youth councils since he was a freshman in high school. He is currently the Director of New Media for the Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council.

This blog is part of the youth-curated Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council blog, in partnership with SparkAction.

Although it is a blog and not a reported piece, this story is being cross-posted in the SparkAction Youth Impact  series, short profiles of youth councils and commissions that are influencing local and state policies and practices. SparkAction is producing this series in partnership with the youth-led Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council and with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

To suggest an impact story, please contact Caitlin Johnson, managing editor, at caitlin@sparkaction.org.

Grant Jirka