In a world of ever-changing rules and regulations, youth input can have a huge impact in making sure the needs of young people are addressed. Organizations like the California Association of Student Councils and the Youth Leadership Institute provide high school students the opportunity to voice their opinions on change. Today, a new organization called the Sacramento Youth Transit Board hopes to provide a similar opportunity to all students interested in Regional Transit.
Founded by current high school student Zelia Gonzales, the Youth Transit Board is currently under development. The Transit Board will potentially be made up of a group of students interested in expressing concerns about their community, particularly regarding public transportation.
“The purpose of the Sacramento Youth Transit Board is to provide recommendations to Regional Transit and to encourage youth to ride transit through outreach and education,” says Gonzales, founder and chair of the Youth Transit Board.
The Sacramento Youth Transit Board welcomes all students ready to “organize transit audits, organize transit field-trips for groups of youth riders, conduct honest surveys of youth riders, set up readable bus and light rail maps in schools.”
Public transit is a bigger issue than many may realize. A survey of more than 400 students in the Sacramento City Unified School District showed that “75 percent of students said the punctuality of buses was their top complaint” (sacramentopress.com).
“Public transportation [needs to be] more reliable and useful for a mode of transportation,” says youth leader Ashley Owens.
The Sacramento Youth Transit Board hopes to voice these concerns and more. Students who show patterns of chronic tardiness could highly benefit from the expansion of Regional Transit.
“When students are chronically late to school, there’s always the concern of if they can get a ride or not. If they had a free transit pass, they could,” comments Gonzales. “[Public transport is] important because it is a lifeline for youth in our cities who want to gain independence and opportunities.”
On April 5th, from 2pm-4pm at the Sol Collective, an open forum will be held concerning the local control funding formula. Youth will be welcomed to learn more about community surveys that determine how funding will be distributed, as well as discuss their priorities regarding funding. Applications for the Sacramento Youth Transit Board will be available at the event. If youth show interest in regional transit at the open forum, the Youth Transit Board will form around their ideas and levels of interest.
“The Sacramento Youth Transit Board is all about creating opportunities for youth,” Gonzales says.
For more information, contact Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the open forum on April 5th at 2574 21st Street. Visit the Sol Collective website here.