Temple teens working to make changes in city through youth advisory commission

Students on the Temple Youth Advisory Commission working to implement new programs in city.
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 8:15 AM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - The city of Temple announced a youth advisory commission last year as a way to get more teenagers involved in the city. Now, the group has been meeting for several months, and they’re working to make a difference in their city.

Matthew Perez and Jillyan Willette are juniors at Temple High School, and both students said they joined becuase they wanted to get to know the city better and give back to their communities.

Perez is the chair of the commission while Willette is vice chair. They said the group of 12 other students create a diverse group and it’s nice to hear others opinions on what to do in the area. The commission is focused on projects that will make the city a better place, but will also benefit the youth in the community.

Perez said they also want to get the community involved.

“Our goal is just to create opportunities, and we hope that the city and the citizens will take advantage of that,” Perez said. “There’s only 14 of us, there’s only so much we can do. We’d like the city to also be involved in our commission.”

One of the projects Perez and Willette hopes the community gets involved with is their little free library project. The plan is to place the libraries in neighborhoods around the city. Neighborhoods would be able to apply for a library, which they would fill and maintain.

“To be able to put this out there for kids who might not be able to go to the library every time or just too anxious to go talk to a librarian, they can up right there, grab a book take it home,” Willette said. “I think it’s really nice.”

No matter what they’re working on, Perez and Willette said it’s exciting to be able to turn their voices into action.

“We can move forward to make that an actual action, whether a project or a program,” Perez said. “It’s really cool to be able to have a voice in something you want, and then you can also do it.”

“This gives us a chance to show everyone else you know, everyone--adults, kids, teenagers,” Willette said. “Just take them seriously. We’re not someone to be ignored.”

The YAC program is application based and it’s available to all teenagers who live in the city limits, regardless of whether they attend public school, private school or are homeschooled. More information is available on the city website.

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