YouthCouncil2CHICAGO – To prioritize leadership and community engagement opportunities for high school students who live in the 20th Senate district, State Senator Cristina Pacione-Zayas recently facilitated multiple experiences for members of her office’s Youth Advisory Council throughout the city.

The group joined Palenque LSNA for a tour of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and helped host a table providing information on state and local resources at the Art in the Park event in Unity Park.

“It’s been incredibly inspiring to see this group of young people pour into our community over the last couple months,” said Pacione-Zayas (D-Chicago). “The Youth Advisory Council gives them space to build relationships amongst each other and other community mentors as they enhance leadership skills, while also advising me on how I can lift up issues and priorities informed by a youth lens.”YouthCouncil8

In addition to volunteering in community events, the Youth Council has also been hard at work on two research projects. Together with members of Pacione-Zayas’ office, the students are creating a policy proposal on two issues: reducing recidivism and addressing the lack of mental health resources in schools.

The other project explores ways Latine voices are represented in the policymaking process and is led by Oswaldo Alvarez, executive director of the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation.

“The Youth Advisory Council is a great way for students in our community to learn the ins and outs of state government while also being a voice for their generation,” said Stefani Scott, the 20th District Youth Employment Coordinator. “I am excited to see what this cohort goes on to achieve as they return to school this fall and beyond.”

The work of the Youth Council culmiated in their participation in the ASPIRA Club Youth Leadership Summit on Aug. 5, where young people across the state came together to bring awareness to issues like gun violence, homelessness, economic development and more.

YouthCouncil10“I’m not able to vote yet but the issues in my community impact me,” said one participant of the council. “The most impactful takeaway from this experience is that it has strengthened my political efficacy, allowing me to be civically engaged in meaningful ways that aren't voting and inspiring me to continue staying engaged.”

More information on the 20th District Youth Advisory Council including pictures and an interest form can be found on Sen. Pacione-Zayas’ website.

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Office Information

Springfield Office:
M120 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8191
 
District Office:
3140 W. Montrose
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 278-2020