Local Youth Commission gives voice to students
March 13, 2017
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For a select group of Roseville High School students, the issues that affect our community’s youth is pressing enough to join a special organization in an attempt to find solutions. Senior Morgan Fenn-Jamison, sophomore Thwisha Gurunurthy and junior Mehak Chahal are all part of the Placer County Youth Commission, whose mission is to research youth issues and engage the community to create positive change.
The Placer County Youth Commission gives students a voice in local policy making by researching youth concerns, relating their findings and positions to local policy makers, and engaging the community to create positive change. Fenn-Jamison initially applied to PCYC in the hopes to be more involved with her community.
“I was interested in taking on a leadership position and learning more about the workings of local government,” Fenn-Jamison said. “I also have a passion for advocacy and knew it would be a great outlet for my energy.”
After a year serving on the Commission, Fenn-Jamison has elevated her way through the PCYC’s hierarchy until she landed her current position of Public Relations Officer. Through her role, Fenn-Jamison has gained a sense of purpose in her community.
“I’ve become very aware of local government now and I’ve met a lot of interesting people through it,” Fenn-Jamison said. “I’ve made very good connections through it to help me through both my career and college.”
The PCYC’s main goal is to organize activities to help educate and motivate youth of Placer County to participate in the local political process. Fenn-Jamison finds herself to be proof of this, with one of her most impactful memories so far was being apart of the Commission’s Mental Health Subcommittee’s Awareness Gallery. Consisting of an exhibit that educated a middle school audience about mental illness and its preventative steps, Fenn-Jamison feels proud to have been apart of something that had such a significant impact.
“The exhibit had multiple displays, ranging from an interactive pledge that called for students to end the stigma against mental health, to a video that myself and my fellow committee members produced by school counselors,” Fenn-Jamison said. “So many teenagers feel alone in their experiences and it’s wonderful that we were able to connect with middle schoolers.”
Fenn-Jamison’s PCYC supervisor, Sean Wang, values the commission as an outlet to improve community problems affecting youths.
“On paper, it’s really a huge range of things,” Wang said. “We have our own meetings and have projects we do throughout the term, but we try to act as an extension of the youth in our community while trying to improve it at the same time.”
As Fenn-Jamison’s supervisor for the entirety of her experience at PCYC, Wang believes that both the effort Fenn-Jamison puts into her work as Public Relations officer and her drive to succeed is evident.
“I think Morgan is one of the most driven people the commission, she’s an artist and I can see a lot of her passion for art be reflected into whatever the kinds of things she puts her efforts in.” Wang said.
Both Gurunurthy and Chahal recently joined PCYC and currently hold the position of ambassadors. Although their involvement in the commission has been limited compared to Fenn-Jamison’s, the two students already see the positive effects of the youth group.
“I want to make a positive impact in my community,” Gurunurthy said. “I’m an ambassador right now and I don’t play a huge role, but I’m still part of the committee.”
Chahal appreciates the variety of opportunities PCYC allows for as well as its beneficial impact it’s had on the community.
“Already I can see just how much kids can do in our community. Being apart of this has been awe inspiring, whether it’s raising awareness for mental health or raising money for kids in our community,” Chahal said. “Placer County Youth Commission has always done well.”
Fenn-Jamison plans to major in psychology.