This letter was sent on June 2 to the office of Brian Kavanagh expressing our support for this important bill that would include 16 and 17-year-olds on community boards in New York City.

MEMORANDUM OF SUPPORT OF A5959/S3995

Sponsor: Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh/State Senator Andrew Lanza

Provisions: Provides that members of Community Boards in NYC need only be 16 years of age to be appointed to such Board.

TO: Members of the New York State Assembly

The National Youth Rights Association strongly supports allowing 16 and 17 year olds to serve on Community Boards in New York City. Young citizens in New York City and across the country have demonstrated a genuine concern for the well being of their communities, today’s young people volunteer more hours helping others than any previous generation. Community boards should be allowed to harness this passion and dedication, not turn away qualified individuals willing to serve.

This bill will provide direct benefit to both the young people selected to serve on community boards, and the communities those boards serve. Young people will benefit greatly from the opportunity to make a real impact on their communities. Too often the talents and contributions of youth are ignored, being able to utilize their capacity for the good of others will be a truly empowering experience for youth throughout the city. Community boards as well will find that with more tangible youth participation they are better connected to the needs and desires of the people they serve, and thus better able to fulfill their mission.

By establishing an appointment process for those 16 and 17 year olds who are fully vetted, not only would we see the civic efficacy of these young leaders greatly enhanced, but we would also see Community Boards progress into a new era, where mentoring relationships and intergenerational partnerships would contribute to community and citywide improvements. I strongly support passage of A5959/S3995.

Sincerely,

Alex Koroknay-Palicz
Executive Director
National Youth Rights Association