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The City of Biddeford is seeking applications for the first program year of the Biddeford Youth Advisory Council. The purpose of the Youth Advisory Council is to promote civic engagement among a younger generation of community members and to build a sense of belonging in Biddeford.
Members of the Youth Advisory Council will complete research and service projects related to issues they identify that affect youth in Biddeford. The group will report their findings to the Biddeford City Council.
“I designed this program so that the members themselves can take the lead in a truly youth-driven process,” said Danica Lamontagne, the City’s Communications Coordinator and staff advisor to the program. “I want the group to work on subjects that they are passionate about and come up with creative ideas and solutions to the problems they want to see solved.”
The program is open to Biddeford youth entering grades nine through 12 this fall. In addition to Biddeford High School students, applications will be accepted from Biddeford residents who are homeschooled or who attend a private high school. Like the City Council, the program will include representatives from each of the City’s wards.
The City Council set a goal to formalize a process to include youth in local government in their 2018-2019 work plan.
“Decisions that are made at the City government level affect youth in the community just as much as adults,” said Councilor Amy Clearwater, the Council Liaison to the program. “This is a fantastic opportunity for younger residents to have their voices heard on critical issues.”
The members of the inaugural group will begin their duties as youth councilors in July and will serve until June 2020. Students who are interested in applying to the program must complete the online application form by May 24, 2019. The City will be working with the Biddeford School Department on direct outreach to students over the coming weeks.