MYAC ringing in youth in our community

Brianna Brown, Reporter

Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission was started in 2009 with former Mayor Christina Rinderle. MYAC is a group of young individuals who are selected by city council through an interview process to help serve the Durango community.

MYAC’s mission statement is: “The City of Durango’s Youth Engagement Program aims to promote youth and community partnerships, encourage teen engagement and cultivate meaningful opportunities for Durango’s young adults.”

MYAC is composed of 18 selected high school students, the mayor and liaisons. There is a main board complied of seven members and two alternates who meet as a student board with a liaison and the Mayor. Also, there are nine other boards in which one student is on each board filled with adult commissioners. The main MYAC commission meets once a month and all 18 students meet together as a work session every month; making meetings typically twice a month for all commissioners.

“I heard about MYAC from my sister and brother. They both had done it all of high school and knew about it because of my mom and her involvement in many different community boards. I decided to join because I wanted to expand my learning and I knew it was a good experience after watching my sister and brother. I also wanted to get involved in more activities for high school and my resume,” said Sr. Amina Youssef.

People seek to join MYAC for different reasons for some because they want to be involved while others want a voice in their community and others desire to work on building strong adult to student relationships.

“I joined MYAC because I wanted to have a voice in our local government, but I have been able to do so much more. MYAC has allowed me to advocate for the youth in the community in a number of ways, and it has helped me become more outgoing and involved. I’m particularly excited about MYAC’s upcoming work with Local First—hopefully, that partnership will benefit many of my peers and the community,” said Animas Sr. Alma Wolf.

MYAC does a variety of projects in order to stay involved in the Durango community. For smaller projects the group goes around town picking up trash. For their bigger projects they have hosted an annual snowdown event for the youth in Durango to participate in. They have also hosted an annual youth expo held typically in the spring aiming to find opportunities for their peers in the community. Along with every year finding one or two new projects to focus on.

“I think through being a member of MYAC I feel closer to the community. For example, through the youth expo, which is our annual event that expands opportunities for the youth in their future, helps bring our fellow student new jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities. It makes me feel extremely satisfied to have events and projects that benefit the youth in Durango,” said Youssef.

Many youth-adult relationships are made through Mayor’s Youth Advisory Commission. As youth work alongside adults to conduct meetings and complete projects.

“The Youth Engagement Program has multiple values for the community. It allows the City Council and City staff to have access to a youth perspective on decisions and routine operations.  It provides a voice for youth in the city and an opportunity to create youth-focused events. It provides leadership opportunities for high school students, providing experience that will serve you in the future. As an educator, I see this as the opportunity to meet and hear from youth leaders, as well as to observe your growth into leadership roles, particularly for those of you who serve for several years,” said Mayor Dick White.