Elected leaders should listen to, invest in youth
On Sept. 22, 2016, three candidates were elected in Indian Head by the youths to represent their voice to the Indian Head Town Council. Here is why the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Team (MYAT) is very important to youths like myself to have our voices be heard.
Many issues were debated during the recent elections, but there was no discussion about my age group: the “youth.” Does anyone in leadership realize that we need to invest in the elementary schoolers, the middle schoolers and the high schoolers of this country? We are worried that our voices are not being heard by our elected leaders and that we do not have the opportunity to become leaders. Therefore, MYAT can be a strong platform for youths.
President-elect Donald Trump said he wants to “Make America Great Again.” Really? How do you do that by ignoring my age group? I attend General Smallwood Middle School. Many of my classmates could be attending after-school programs that could help them build their leadership, foreign language or STEM-related skills. Sadly, most can’t attend. Most of them do not have the necessary support structures at home. Many would attend if their parents were not working full-time jobs or if someone could watch their siblings. Schools lack necessary funding in technology investment and teacher turnover is high, probably due to low pay.
If you want to “Make America Great Again,” then start by investing in our future, our education and our leadership. I believe that MYAT will make a difference in our community. We are the very first mayor’s group in Indian Head, in fact in all of Maryland. During monthly meetings, Mayor of Indian Head Brandon Paulin and Vice Mayor Ron Sitoula encourage youths to speak up and seize leadership roles. We meet once a month and discuss the town issues that affect youths. They may not be able to fix all the issues, but our voices are surely being heard.
We must expand this program across Charles County. We encourage all of the students in Maryland to start teams like ours in their respective communities and make their voices heard to elected officials. The future of this nation rests on our shoulders. Elected leaders must invest in us, together we can “Make America Great Again.” Kritika Oli, Indian Head