The Youth MIC group met Thursday to begin discussions on how they can affect change in their communities. The Monmouth Independence Council, made up of young people aged 16 to 24, gathered with mentors and members of the Multnomah Youth Council to get ideas started.

The MYC has done things from advocating for a later school start time to educating immigrants about their rights.

The Monmouth-Independence group start ed out by tackling support for teen parents, partnerships with Western Oregon University students, and — the tried and true complaint of youth regardless of era — more places to hang out.

This is not the first time the youth have been asked what’s important to them. Polk County Family and Community Outreach has circulated surveys throughout the schools to uncover what priorities young people have, and what are the issues that weigh on their minds. Great work has been done because of this, including churches offering free guitar lessons to young people.

It can be difficult to remember what it was like to be young. Adults often make decisions for youth — that’s the way our society works — so when youth are asked to actively participate in their own futures — and then show up to do the work — it is exciting.

We hope this group of young people will grow to include the county; that they will address difficult topics; and enact changes that will make our communities better places to live.

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