“My name is Arabella Smith and I was saved by 916 Ink,” said a Sacramento teen named Arabella during a City Council meeting regarding the investment of youth programs.
Sacramento’s City Council, led by its Mayor, Darrell Steinberg, held a meeting to discuss the investment in youth and youth programs. In Sacramento, many organizations such as 916 Ink, Sol Collective, The California Endowment, the Boy & Girls Club and much more are working to make an impact on Sacramento’s youth.
The issue of this meeting was to push the city council to consider more investment into the many youth programs as mentioned above. It is believed by the issue’s supporters that a higher investment in youth programs can lead area children to a healthy, active, engaged, and ready-to-learn lifestyle.
The majority of city youth services are run through the City Department of Parks and Recreation, Also known as DPR. It runs around 26 different major youth services.
The policy considerations included increasing investment for the DPR’s youth-serving programs and working in collaboration with Sacramento’s school districts to create school-based beacon centers.
There are a good amount of studies that indicate that a stable and healthy early childhood learning environment improves student achievement. Governments can save more than $7 for every $1 spent on early learning instead of spending on student suspensions, being held back, or later getting involved in crime and going to prison.
Many youth and adults came to this meeting in hopes of getting more investment towards these programs and to supporting creating more youth programs to help youth development, mental health, and physical health
“A lot of kids who grow up in a poverty area don’t want to do bad things, it is caused by the help they get around them- which is basically nothing,” said a young teen, Tommy Lee, when speaking to Darrell Steinberg about his experiences while living in Oak park, one of many struggling communities in Sacramento.
Tommy was one of the many youth who attended this city council meeting. He spoke about the horrifying experiences of the sounds of police sirens in his neighborhoods and even not being able to go outside as a young child in caution of the problems facing the neighborhood.
“We must help our kids believe that they can do anything in life,” said another youth speaker named Noelle Alvarez. “Education means everything and not everyone can do it alone.”
Many speakers, including several teens, spoke about their experiences in low-income neighborhoods or living in a struggling situation. Many of them have had help from many youth development programs that they often say have helped them recover and move on from an unhealthy life.
“I know what it’s like to go down the wrong path and I don’t want the next generation to make the same mistakes I did,” said Alvarez as he ended his comments.