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History of the DC Youth Advisory Council

The District of Columbia Youth Advisory Council (DCYAC) was established to provide an organized youth perspective regarding various issues to the Mayor, the Council of the District of Columbia, District of Columbia Public Schools, public charter schools, key decision makers in the District of Columbia government, officials and community leaders.

About the District of Columbia Youth Advisory Council (DCYAC)
 
In April 2002, Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed legislation establishing the DC Youth Advisory Council (DCYAC). The DCYAC is located within the Executive Office of the Mayor. It was created by District youth and officials in order for young people throughout the District to have an official ongoing voice in the policies, programs and actions within the city. The DCYAC is responsible for influencing change in legislation and policies that impact youth, and for developing more youth and adult partnerships.

History

On November 6, 2000, Mayor Anthony A. Williams sponsored The City Is Mine Youth Summit in order for DC youth to advise him of their critical needs and the actions that should be taken in making DC a place where youth can thrive. During the Youth Summit, over 1,400 DC youth provided recommendations, giving voice in identifying three priority issues that included Employment & Training, Public Safety, and Education. The youth also expressed an overwhelming need to have an ongoing voice in the decision-making processes related to issues that impact them.

In keeping with what was becoming a growing trend, the youth recommended the creation of more youth-adult partnerships, like a youth council. This council would provide youth’s perspectives to key decision makers in the District of Columbia Government, as well as other adult leaders. Mayor Williams endorsed this recommendation and requested a proposal to form a DCYAC.

On May 5, 2001, a proposal for the creation of a DCYAC was prepared by the Youth Summit Advisory Board, which was comprised of youth. The proposal was developed based on a site visit to Portland, Oregon, and Hampton, Virginia, where a successful youth councils have been in place. After careful and extensive deliberation, the Board adapted many of the ideas and concepts from these other youth councils to meet the unique needs of the District of Columbia.

On May 7, 2001, the Board submitted its proposal to establish a DC Youth Advisory Council to Mayor Williams.  A Public Hearing before the Committee on Government Operations of the Council of the District of Columbia, under Committee Chairman Vincent B. Orange, Sr., was held on November 30, 2001. On March 5, 2002, the first reading of the bill was held with success. The second reading of the bill was held on April 22, 2002, with a unanimous decision (13-0) in favor of the legislation. The “District of Columbia Youth Advisory Council Act of 2002” was signed on April 22, 2002, by Mayor Anthony A. Williams and DC Council Chairwoman Linda W. Cropp. It was transmitted to the United States Congress on May 3, 2002, for a 30-day Congressional review. The Act became DC Law 14-145, effective June 25, 2002.
Structure & Support
 
The DCYAC consists of 32 council members, between the ages of 13 and 22, selected from the various wards of the District of Columbia.

  •    Commenting on legislation and policies that impact youth;
  •    Presenting methods to resolve youth-related conflicts between youth and between youth and adults;
  •    Proposing recommendations to improve the lives of youth;
  •    Monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of youth programs and policies;
  •    Partnering with neighborhood and youth organizations on shared issues; and
  •    Preparing youth for leadership through appropriate training.

Members of the DCYAC have a background in community-based activities with a sincere interest in and motivation to work for the community. As youth leaders, they bring real and fresh perspectives about youth issues, and act as effective communicators between the District and their home communities. The DCYAC meets twice a month and publishes a yearly report, to be publicly distributed, of its activities, recommendations and accomplishments.
 
The DCYAC’s Vision
 
The vision of the DCYAC is to provide effective youth leadership and voice that serve the critical needs of DC youth and positions the DCYAC to be recognized and included as an essential and strong component in the decision-making processes regarding matters that impact youth in the District of Columbia.
 
The DCYAC’s Mission
 
The mission of the DCYAC is to empower youth to play a meaningful role in decision-making processes regarding matters that impact DC youth.
 
The DCYAC’s Purpose
 
The purpose of the DCYAC is to provide an organized youth perspective regarding various issues to the Mayor, the Council of the District of Columbia, District of Columbia schools, key decision makers in the District of Columbia Government, officials, and community leaders.

Membership
 
DCYAC membership benefits include influencing the District’s youth-related policies and programs; creating legislation that aids youth; serving as a representative for District youth; interacting regularly with District officials and other local leaders; and developing leadership skills. DCYAC is a wonderful way for young people in the District to gain experience in community service, civic participation and youth advocacy. Throughout the year, DCYAC members will be able to meet and work with other District youth through numerous programs and collaborations. In the addition, DCYAC members may have the opportunity to travel to different cities and participate in national conferences and events.