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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 15 March 2006

Youth between 13 and 21 years old who are interested in influencing government and changing society may want to serve on the Multnomah Youth Commission.

The commission is an advisory body to Multnomah County and part of the Commission on Children, Families and Community of Multnomah County.

The one-year term ends in 2007.

The commission represents youth from five of the area's eight public school districts, alternative schools, charter and private schools, middle schools and colleges. Youth who have struggled with homelessness, becoming teen parents or immigrating to the United States and learning English as a second language also are served.

"We are recruiting youth who are eager to have their voices heard, diverse youth from across the county, and we are eager to provide them opportunities to exercise their voice," said Shawn Biggers, a second-year student at Portland Community College and commission co-chair.

The commission has taken on projects including youth coverage in local media, teen pregnancy, homelessness and nutrition. It has created a mentorship program that pairs middle school and high school girls in the Marshall High School cluster to better support girls' transitions into high school.

The commission has held community forums on issues such as race and prejudice, media and body image, and it held a candidates' debate for the Portland mayoral election. Its youth newsletter, called Et Cetera, focuses on positive stories about the power of young people in Multnomah County to create significant change(available at www.ourcommission.org/myc).

"Young people may not be able to vote, but their voices can make a difference," said Joshua Todd, commission coordinator. "If they have the passion to help create change I can't think of another group of young people in the county that better represents the community of youth here and which is better prepared to help them make the change they want to see."

For more information contact Todd, 503-988-5839.

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