Dover Once Again Seeks to Get Kids' Input on City Issues - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Once Again Seeks to Get Kids' Input on City Issues

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Dover wants to buck the old cliche and make sure that children are both seen and heard on issues important to the city.
The city is reviving an old plan for giving kids a voice in local government. Dover has tried to get children involved before. City council formed the Youth Advisory Council back in 2010. The last time it met was in 2011.

But Monday night it met again for the first time since then. 

Lots of things Dover city government does directly affect kids. Rebecca Anderson says why shouldn't they have a say in them. She's 16 years old, a student at Dover High School and a member of the newly-reformed Youth Advisory Council.

"I wanted to get involved in this because I feel like the community really needs say from a variety of people, not just people who are 40 and above," she said.
That was something Sophia Russell, a former city councilwoman, believed in, and it was part of the reason she pushed for the panel. But Russell died from cancer in 2012 not longer after it was created.

"She had a passion for making sure the next generation had a part in building the future. That was something that before she had passed that she asked me not to let die," said Dave Anderson, a city councilman.
Councilman Anderson says the kids will focus on issues like family-friendly events, parks and recreation, public safety, whatever issues they feel are important.
"We're looking for creativity. That's what we're looking for throughout city government. Where are you going to find it better than with young people who get to bring a new energy and new ideas?" he said.

Today's kids are tomorrow's homeowners, business owners, taxpayers and voters. Rebecca says it shouldn't matter they can't vote just yet.

"A lot of kids feel like they don't have a say just because they're kids. However, I find if you do your research and present your case well, usually even the most stubborn people will care to listen at least a little bit," she said.

There will be nine kids ages 14 to 18 and three adults on the Youth Advisory Council. Councilman Anderson stresses there are other ways for kids to get involved beyond the council itself.

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