At a recent town hall meeting to discuss our city’s budget, the Sun-Star reported that Mayor Stan Thurston asked youth leaders and residents to come up “with a wish list for programs” before the council goes into budget season.
Well-supported and well-resourced programs will be a great benefit to our youth – and we, concerned parents and leaders of the Merced County Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), have stated that a greater investment in the city’s youth council is part of the “wish list” – but the city is ultimately missing the bigger picture.
First, as a concerned parent and PLTI coordinator, I believe the issue isn’t about programs. It’s about people. Young people. Merced’s young people. Our young people are the priority, not some program. In other words, what is the city’s long-term approach to make young residents a priority throughout this year and well into the future? This should be a constant concern to the city, not just a conversation that our leaders feel they need to have during each budget season.
We all support youth. It’s time to make young residents a true priority.
SOL RIVAS, CO-COORDINATOR, MERCED COUNTY PARENT LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE