On Friday, September 17, YouthQuest students along with other students from the county had the opportunity to meet with county commissioners and staff at the Genesee County Administration building during Genesee County Youth Taking Action.
This collaborative event was hosted by Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development, the Genesee County Board of Commissioners and Flint & Genesee Education & Talent.
“This was a great opportunity for YouthQuest students and other students in the city of Flint,” says Dr. Kimberly Leverette, executive director of Flint & Genesee Education & Talent. “Students were able to share their voices with local leaders and learn about local government straight from those who do the work every day.”
Along with meeting county commissioners, students also had the opportunity to engage in debates on topics including whether communities should defund the police and if vaccines should be required for high school sports participation.
Finally, students had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Genesee County Judge David J. Newblatt, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson and Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton and learn about their roles in local government.
This event is the start of the Genesee County Youth Commission, which begins this month with nine students representing each of the commissioners’ districts. Students who join the commission will meet monthly to learn about county government, share concerns with the Genesee County Board of Commissioners and work to improve the Genesee County community. Being exposed to local government is important in showing students where they can make a change according to Darren Bagley, 4-H Youth Development Educator at Michigan State University Extension.
“In K-12 education, students learn a ton about the federal government, a bit about state government and almost nothing about local government,” says Bagley. “But when you look at where you can make an impact and where government impacts your everyday life, local government plays a huge piece.”