I had the honor of attending a United Youth Party, Party this evening that celebrated teens in this city who designed a novel park idea that would be located on the river. This group (Website) formed at Roberto Clemente Charter School in 2011 just about the time I left council. I was not aware of the group until recently.
There mission is:
“We will act as an organization for the people of Allentown to share ideas and solutions to improve our community. We will get the youth involved in improving our community by empowering their voices and ideas. We will utilize technology and social media to communicate, synergize, and maintain a transparent relationship with all. We will help the people of Allentown gain what we all desire – an improved community, life, and future for all.”
Hundreds of teens showed up for this celebration. I learned that one of the founding members is a neighbor of mine. She wants to be a Cardiologist.
Needless to say, scaling this energy community wide is a goal many of us have. There are 17,000 students in the Allentown School System: A tremendous resource, especially the older children. We need to figure out a way to harness their efforts.
First and foremost, their ideas are real and substantive. They cannot be ignored. Perhaps fine-tuning is always necessary, but to ignore the ideas of youth is to open ourselves to longer term problems of diminished trust.
Great job, United Youth Party. I was impressed, tremendously. Hats off to Michael Frasetto, the group’s mentor, who is a history teacher at Roberto Clemente School.
When will topics such as city-wide community development, education development,training development, youth development, and transportation development become part of the downtown revitalization conversation?
Why has a city-wide conversation concerning a Community Benefits Agreement not yet started?
What is needed to encourage the city, schools, hospitals, colleges, businesses, and agencies to work together for the benefit of our youth?
(We cut the school budget while tremendous physical investment is occurring in one small portion of the city. While physical investment is important and necessary, it is not sufficient. A conversation must begin about the future of our community efforts.)
First post in a quest to offer an important message for Allentown’s future.
- Build community and not just buildings
- Create a partnership among the schools, colleges, hospitals, agencies, and the city for best practice urban training and education
- Expand leadership programs for Allentown’s youth
- Negotiate a community benefits agreement (CBA) for the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ)
- Link Allentown residents to the jobs in the suburbs through better transportation
- Make policy choices transparent and inclusive
- Insure oversight of the LCA use of our water and sewer assets
For these and many other reasons, I am a candidate for Mayor of Allentown. My view of what is possible and how we get there is different. Diversity is powerful and is our ultimate advantage.