Photo caption: Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan (center) with the Youth Commission members from her district: Marica Daniels (left) and Joy Ruby Fowler.
Twenty-six students, joined by friends and family members, poured into Miami-Dade County Hall on Tuesday, March 15, but this was no ordinary field trip. These high school students, ranging from ages 15 to 18 years of age, will be the new faces at Miami-Dade County Hall as local leaders officially welcomed the group to the County's first Youth Commission. The commission, conceived by Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan, was developed to provide young residents an opportunity to learn and participate in County government by articulating the issues and needs of youth in the community.
In their new position, members of the Youth Commission will advise the Mayor and Commissioners on matters and programs affecting the youth and teen population. The Miami-Dade Juvenile Services Department, under the umbrella of the County's Violence Intervention Project (VIP), has also been behind the initiative's implementation.
“The Youth Commission’s insight will give us an insider’s perspective on violence and other issues our children face every day,” said Commissioner Jordan. “Miami-Dade has always provided programs we feel are in the best interests of local youth, but who better to comment on or tweak these programs and legislation than the students themselves?”
Each commissioner appointed a student representing each of the secondary schools in his or her district. These are the voting members; a select group of non-voting members chosen by Mayor’s Office, County Manager’s Office, Clerk of the Board’s Office, Agenda Coordinator’s Office and Miami-Dade County Public Schools Board of Education will be able to learn the role of the official who appointed them.
The appointments were made based on nominations by Miami-Dade County Public Schools and an orientation process. To be qualified, students had to be in the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade, have a minimum 2.0 grade point average, demonstrate a sincere interest and motivation to work for the community, and have a background in community-based activities.
Some responsibilities the Youth Commission will be charged with include fostering increased youth involvement in County government, holding forums on issues concerning local youth, recommending community programs beneficial to youths, commenting on proposed legislation impacting youths, and submitting an annual report of activities to the County Commission and Mayor. Additionally, each member will meet with the official who appointed them on a quarterly basis to discuss teen and community issues of concern to them. The Youth Commission will meet at the call of the Chairperson or at the request of the majority of the membership, but no less than once a month. The group will be subject to the Government in the Sunshine and Public Records requirements. Members will serve one year terms, and can only serve two terms at most.
The inaugural Youth Commission members are listed below. For more information, please contact Commissioner Jordan’s office at 305-375-5694.
Joy R. Fowler
Plukit K. Agrawal
Rocio Sevilla Dieguez
Amy Jennifer Diaz
Tyler Jonathan Allen
Brenda Abreu Molnar
Natalie Francesca Mesa
Gianina Sofia Ernand
Photo caption: Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts Harvey Ruvin (at podium) administers the Oath of Office for students selected to be part of Miami-Dade County’s first Youth Commission.
(Photo credits: Armando Rodriguez/Miami-Dade County)