The National League of Cities (NLC), an organization dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities, hosted their annual 2016 City Summit in Pittsburgh, PA in November. The NLC understands that the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and the conference offers programs to challenge and inspire youth to become active in local government.
At the request and support of City Council,
the City of Newport News sent eight youth and two City employees from the Department of Human Services’ Youth Services Unit to this year’s conference. The youth are current members of the Mayor’s Youth Commission (MYC) and represented four of the City’s high schools – Gavin Ober, Denbigh High School; Ni’Tasha Blount, Terrian Brown, Ceniah Higgs, Heritage High School, Casey Hawkins, Aaron Hodges, Menchville High School, and Justin Dail, and Sohilia Elziny from Woodside High School.
The Youth Delegates attended workshops and skill-building sessions around topics such as improving health for kids and families, addressing the opioid epidemic, summer jobs for successful futures, law enforcement for today’s cities, continued civic engagement, and the impact of social media on youth outcomes. They also attended a Youth Delegate Social at Carnegie Science Center, and a Youth Delegate and Young Elected Officials Networking Breakfast.
Ceniah Higgs, Youth Delegate and MYC member, shared “I enjoyed meeting with youth from all over the nation… It was great to see so many kids who wanted to make a difference in their community! I had the opportunity to talk to many of the youth from other councils about what they were doing in their cities and I learned new ideas that I could possibly bring back to the Mayor's Youth Commission. I also sat in on several of the adult general sessions and small groups… It was encouraging to see so many council members who wanted to hear what the youth had to say about what they thought were problems in their cities and possible solutions.”
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities in partnership with the 49 state municipal leagues, and serves as a resource to and an advocate for the more than 19,000 cities, villages, and towns it represents.