Providing a platform for young people to voice their opinions is the main purpose of the Cole County Youth Day event, but the event has struggled over the last few years.
The Jefferson City Commission on Human Relations provided suggestions Thursday in hopes of revamping Cole County Youth Day.
Fifth- through ninth-graders have broken out into smaller sessions to speak with high school students and local leaders about their concerns during past Cole Count Youth Day events. The students then can help come up with solutions to those problems.
“The whole point is to give youths a voice in the community about things they see,” said Susan Cook-Williams, event organizer and a new member of the Human Relations Commission.
The event hasn’t gained the traction organizers would like to see, though, Cook-Williams said. While 40-50 students attended each event and had discussions, she added, students struggled to come up with concrete solutions.
“We’re kind of disappointed with the turnout,” she said. “We wanted more.”
Event organizers have surveyed youths and brought in different people to host the sessions in order to attract more students, Cook-Williams said.
Since the Human Relations Commission is considering partnering with Cole County Youth Day, commissioners and Ward 2 Councilwoman Laura Ward suggested using Lincoln University. Organizers could synchronize Cole County Youth Day with another event, such as Lincoln University move-in day. They could also let the fifth- through ninth-graders voice concerns but have LU students come up with solutions.
“They might be in that mindset a little bit more,” new commissioner Missy Creed said.