Douglas County Teens Attend Youth Congress at the State Capitol
On September 25, over 130 students who live in Douglas County attended Youth Congress held at the Colorado State Capitol Building. Students in grades 9-12 participated. This event was sponsored by the Douglas County Youth Initiative. The day started in the Colorado Assembly room where the students were given a presentation about the state of Colorado budget and how the tax dollars are distributed. After this interactive session, teens broke into small groups to tackle and discuss some of the issues facing their daily lives which included mental health, truancy, curfew, and recreation for teens. These groups were led by adult experts in their fields. At the end of the day, each student group presented their topic to the entire youth congress.
By having a day like this, adults that work in our government and in Douglas County are able to gather the opinion and voices of today’s youth. For example, students were asked to anonymously answer the following questions:
- What is one thing your parents would be surprised about if they knew this was going on among teenagers at school?
- What is the biggest social challenge students face at your school?
- What makes teens feel disconnected to school?
- What is your thought about school suspensions? (Effective? Or Not Effective?)
Their responses were varied and transparent. Responses included but were not limited to:
Things parents / adults might not know about:
Why are teens disconnected to school:
Your opinion about the effectiveness of school suspensions:
By using these anonymous responses and the work the students do at events like this, we can continue to use their voice in supporting their sense of safety and their growth.