By Katelyn To
“We experience and see parts of our city that cannot be understood by the adult eye,” said Junior Dina Mirmotalebisohi, member of the Walnut Creek Youth Leadership Commission. Mirmotalebisohi is one of 15 high school students who serve to provide a youth perspective on issues within the city, as well as encourage other young people to play their part in the community. Along the way, they learn and contribute to the Walnut Creek government through bimonthly meetings at the City Hall in which they follow a pre-planned agenda much like one used at a regular City Hall meeting.
Commissioners have worked hard during the past year to create and implement community projects to benefit the community’s youth. “Every year, the commissioners are tasked with organizing several projects, with a subgroup focusing on each one,” said member Junior Hadil Djadri. “This year, we have a pre-voter registration project to get 16-17 year old teens to pre-register to vote, and our first drive at Northgate was successful. We have a culture series in the works, aimed at educating the community on the different cultures that are represented on the commission.”
The commission also utilizes Instagram to expand its connection with teens in our community. As Communications Director, Djadri said, “I create flyers, run the Instagram account…create posts, and take pictures to use for outreach…We’ve also highlighted some commissioners as they participate in daily activities like journaling, baking, and working out or running with social distancing in place.” With the recent outbreak, members of the commision can no longer meet in person and are relying on social media more than ever before to connect with the community. Mirmotalebisohi said, “We have been…posting weekly story challenges, bingos, or just check-ins. We are currently working on coming up with more ways to keep the youth involved.” Check out @wcyouthcommission on Instagram for more.
The commission has been supporting the community in other ways as well during this difficult time. Senior Cade Johnson said, “We have been advocating for compliance to the local mandates of shelter in place and social distancing. For example, monitoring the social distancing near my house in Walnut Creek.”
Besides getting involved with the young people of Walnut Creek, the Youth Leadership Commission also interacts with the Walnut Creek government. “Commissioners attend city council meetings and other city events,” said Djadri. Mirmotalebisohi said, “We have gone to and [spoken] at council meetings, spoken to the previous mayor Silva, and the present day mayor Haskew.” During meetings, “We all play the role of making sure everyone is being heard, which is why we have different representatives from different schools.”
Non-commissioners are allowed at city meetings as well. Anyone is welcome to simply show up to meetings and express their opinions to the board, and students can earn volunteer hours as well by attending meetings.
Interested in applying for the city’s commission? Applications are opening early fall for all high school students living in Walnut Creek, and commissioners usually commit to a two-year term. For more information, check out https://www.walnut-creek.org/government/commissions-committees/youth-leadership-commission.