FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 21, 2020
MAYOR STEWART APPLAUDS FORMATION OF YOUTH LEADERSHIP GROUP
NEW BRITAIN – Mayor Erin Stewart announced today the formation of the New Britain Youth Leadership Group, guided under the umbrella of the New Britain’s Local Prevention Council. Additionally, Mayor Stewart commended them on their vocal advocacy to reduce and prevent substance abuse among the city’s youth and encourage a life of wellness.
New Britain’s Local Prevention Council, reformed in November 2019 is intended to prevent & reduce alcohol and other drug use among youth, while promoting wellness to ensure all New Britain city youth are prepared to be positive contributing community members.
“Our kids are speaking up,” said Mayor Stewart. “Youth voices are always needed at the table, especially when tackling issues that affect them directly. Their voices need to be heard and included in the solution. Substance abuse is not an issue we take lightly in New Britain and what our youth have to say about solutions that reduce and prevent it is valued in my office. I commend the Youth Leadership Group on their efforts to tackle this issue head on and use their voices to shed light on its existence in our community. I’m confident that with these young voices at the table we will achieve our goal of helping all youth in New Britain lead a healthy life and be good standing members of our community.”
As a result of the New Britain’s Local Prevention Council initiative, a Youth Leadership Group was created and will meet weekly throughout the summer and beyond. Students were nominated from various community partners and will have input into strategic decisions being made by the Prevention Council.
“I believe a vocal youth voice is a key element into making successful opportunities available for young people. They know what the trends are and who will show up and for what. Collaboration is a powerful thing, and in my eyes, there is no better collaboration in making decisions for kids then having them share a table with you!, said Mallory Deprey, the Director of the New Britain Community Services Office.
Over the summer, New Britain’s youth leaders are reviewing data results from a student survey that was distributed to all Middle and High School Students in February of 2020. After the review they will team up to conduct multiple peer-led focus groups to gather qualitative feedback. This exercise will help to develop the youth leaders’ advocacy skills as they represent their peers’ voices. In turn they also will educate the adults on ways to develop successful and strategic opportunities that will benefit the adolescents of New Britain.
Two of the group’s high school seniors were asked to share a message regarding how they feel about being selected to be part of this elite group. “Be empowered, be outspoken, be a youth that can show people what you got, said Desire Perez. Jonnay Cooper echoed the sentiment of Perez saying, “I definitely feel empowered and I like being a part of it because I feel like I’m actually making a difference.”
The group is currently comprised of self-motivated students from HALS, Pulaski Middle School, and New Britain High School.
Media Contact: Brock L. Weber
Executive Aide to Mayor Erin Stewart