The city is creating the San Marcos Youth Commission to bring the voice of the youth into the community. The council’s aim is to increase the youth’s voice by engaging in city policies and other issues.
The Youth Commission was set forth in 2013 as a part of the Youth Master Plan in order to encourage engagement and leadership among the city’s youth. City Council will appoint high school or older aged youth onto the commission in February.
“This group is really important because it’s the voice of youth to the city,” said Kim Porterfield, a member of the Youth Commission Steering Committee. “(The Youth Commission) will weigh in on everything, from zoning to greenspace to whatever they feel like is an issue to the community and how it will affect (the) youth.”
In a press release Steven Sundquist, Youth Council Steering Committee Chair, said the commission will serve as a “bridge” to connect the youth’s issues and recommendations to city council, school board and other decision makers. The council will provide outreach to San Marcos teens and perform tasks on projects set forth by the San Marcos Commission on Children.
Mariana Zamora, social work senior, served as a representative of the San Marcos Public School District and helped with the initial development of the Youth Master Plan in 2012. Zamora said the commission is important to ensure that the needs of the youth in the community are being recognized by local elected officials.
“Youth have the ability to contribute diverse perspectives and impact policy that will affect their lives,” Zamora said. “By engaging youth in the Youth Master Plan implementation, we are promoting ownership and empowerment over our lives, strengthening young people’s abilities and promoting political participation from adolescence into adulthood.”
The commission will be compromised with any youth, ranging from ages 24 or younger, in educational entities who live within the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District’s geographic footprint. It will serve over 7,500 youth in Hays County and portions of neighboring Guadalupe and Caldwell counties.
Zamora said the ideal council member is someone who is interested in ensuring San Marcos has the resources for youth to be academically successful and workforce ready.
“Our hope is to create more engagement among youth and future leaders,” Porterfield said. “After all, that’s who government exists for—the future citizens.”
Sundquist said the commission will meet monthly. He said it is their hope to address barriers to attendance such as transportation.
The Commission on Youth and Families is endeavoring to have youth submit applications for city council consideration by Nov. 1. Porterfield said there may be leeway for considering later applicants.
Contact Sundquist at SSundquist@seton.org or Porterfield at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.