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The Westport Youth Commission improves the representation of young adults

Taken from the Westport Youth Commission website

By Sasha Narang ’18

In a town of 25,000 people, it’s not unusual for the youth to be unrepresented. The Westport Youth Commission consists of 30 members who work together to advocate for the local children and teenagers. Some of the members are Staples students who have helped achieve many accomplishments to give adolescents a voice.


The goal of the organization is to “improve the town of Westport and make it more interactive for youth everywhere,” Alejandro Perez Elorza ’18, a member of the group, said.


Among the abundance of nail salons, restaurants, and grocery stores, Westport seems to have everything but activities and events organized for the enjoyment of the youth.


Some of the organization’s accomplishments over the years include the creation of the Compo Beach Skate Park and the Toquet Hall Student Coffeehouse. The establishment process includes monthly meetings in which the discussion of ideas take place, followed by a vote. Nicole Arellano ’18, the student secretary of the organization, said how every decision is made with the intention of “bringing the community together.”


Arellano further explained how this year’s body was very successful, as they continued their student discount program from 2016 by expanding around Westport. She also added how they created the Student Creation Market, allowing for student entrepreneurs to locally promote their businesses.


“The Westport Youth Commission did a good job of communicating with the venue prior to the event to make sure everything went smoothly on the actual day,” Hillary O’Neill ’19, a participant of the event, said. “I got the chance to spread the word about my business further. I really hope that they do it again in the future just because I think it was a fun and unique event.”


However, the role of the members of the Westport Youth Commission is also to advocate for the safety of children and teenagers. With the responsibility of providing the necessary things for the Westport youth, educating children is a major priority of the group.


One of their most well known events is dodge-a-cop, which is “a police youth game of capture the flag in order to improve relations between middle schoolers and cops,” Perez Elorza explained. A similar event takes place at the high school, where students participate in a game of dodgeball.


The Westport Youth Commission is led by Kevin Godburn with the assistance of many other adults, including police officer Ned Batlin. Although the kids are able to better represent the Westport youth, the leaders help guide them in the right direction. As stated on the organization’s website, “The Westport Youth Commission brings together town officials, other adults and students to provide a forum for addressing the needs of young people in our community.”


As the next school year approaches, the Westport Youth Commission will further improve the youth representation in the town. “This being my first year, I’ve learned a lot and have big shoes to fill, but I’m confident in the group of students and adults,” Arellano said. “We can’t wait to make more progress for the 2017-18 year.”


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