Young leaders engage community, government

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) —  

A number of students from Western Massachusetts were sworn into the Governor’s Statewide Youth Council Friday.  Students were chosen for their leadership skills and potential to create positive change. 15-year-old Caianne Cayode of Chicopee was one of 28 students sworn in.  Caianne told 22News that the Council provided the chance to speak with lawmakers about issues that hit close to home.

“I want to be a part of change and in Springfield and Chicopee there’s a lot of violence and bullying.  Some people don’t have voices and I thought it would be nice to, you know, see if I could help change,” said Caianne.

Same goes for Brienne Paradis of Greenfield.  Brienne says she and her friends know what it’s like to be bullied. Inspired by anti-bullying legislation worked on by the past Council, she decided that she wanted to help out.

“I researched it a little bit and saw how teenagers could have impact on legislation and be able to changes things and I wanted to be a part of that,” said Brienne.

Youth Council members range from 14 to 20 years-old and in the past have focused on issues like in-state tuition and closing education gaps between students from wealthy and poor backgrounds.  Governor Deval Patrick established the Council in 2008 to acknowledge young leaders who are in unique positions to talk about local issues.

“They’re a source of inspiration. You know their energy is so high, they’re so optimistic and positive and that’s, you know, like I say, a source of uplift,” said Patrick. 

Youth Council members will hold bi-monthly meetings and share what they see in their communities as well as how government can help out with solutions.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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