Mayor's Youth Council
The mission of the Mayor’s Youth Council is to:
- provide ongoing and direct input on government policies and practices that may affect young people
- advocate on issues and initiatives that may impact the lives of young people
- recommend and foster initiatives for and by youth
- act as a communication link between the Metropolitan Government and the young people of Nashville
- promote and recognize the abilities, accomplishments, and contributions of young people in their communities
Statistics and Demographics
- 42 youth representing 23 public, private, and charter schools
- Racial, socioeconomic, and cultural diversity
- Mayor’s Youth Council participants are evaluated across 4 impact areas: Safety, Connection & Significance, Participation & Empowerment, and Generosity & Justice
- 68.8% increase in Connection & Significance impact area in 2015
- 62.5% increase in Participation & Empowerment impact area in 2015
2015-16 Projects and Community Engagement
- Youth Voter Registration Campaign
- 2015 Youth Mayoral Forum
- National League of Cities – Youth, Education & Families Council
- Nashville Next - Youth Community Engagement Plan
- Celebrate Nashville – Teens United
- Campaign for a Presidential Youth Council
- Metro Government Stakeholder Meetings
Why the Mayor’s Youth Council is important
The Mayor’s Youth Council works to engage youth across Nashville in community initiatives.
MYC not only serves youth who are members, but instead, all MYC efforts are aimed at engaging youth across Nashville in community initiatives. Research has shown benefits of youth civic engagement include: budget savings, increased support for city initiatives, improved policies and programs for youth, identification as a youth- friendly community, and improved indicators of well-being among youth. MYC creates opportunities for students to participate in community efforts that are of importance to youth, increasing the likelihood that future citizens will continue to participate in city initiatives.
Mayor’s Youth Council provides youth voice and participation to Metro Government and community stakeholders.
Youth encompass distinct ideas, opinions, and perspectives as well as unique talents, expertise, and skills that can be utilized to benefit communities in a variety of ways. City leaders are increasingly realizing that youth are community assets and relying on them to provide youth voice to ongoing projects and plans. The Mayor’s Youth Council has been a go-to source for youth voice in the city, providing feedback on a number of projects and working with agencies including the Mayor’s Office, the Metro Planning Commission, the Metro Transit Authority, the Public Health Department, and countless others.
Mayor’s Youth Council provides the portal for youth to access needed resources and services.
In addition to adding youth voice and participation in city works, MYC helps increase the number of youth accessing needed wraparound services by sharing information though a peer-to-peer youth network. Last year alone, MYC collaborated with youth councils from the Metro Transit Authority, the Metro Public Health Department, Oasis Center, and a host of youth-serving organizations and non-profits to help spread the word about needed services and resources. Our work values the impact of youth when they are used as extensions of city government, helping to provide access to other youth who are most in need of these supports.
- In April 2015 MYC hosted the Mayoral Youth Forum, a public meeting with mayoral candidates and the youth of Nashville. MYC mobilized several active youth councils to coordinate the event, including the MTA Youth Advisory Board, the Public Health Dept. YAB, the Public Library’s T.O.T.A.L., the TN Immigrant & Refugee Right’s Coalition YAC, and youth representatives from many other nonprofits and youth-serving organizations. The event drew nearly 400 participants and included youth-submitted questions regarding public education, college access, public transit, and LGBT issues.
- In April 2015, MYC held one of two annual meetings with Mayor Karl Dean to present results of the year’s planning efforts and discuss priority areas for young people of Nashville which included: Education, College Access, Transportation, Inclusion/Diversity, and LGBT Student Safety. MYC students shared first-hand experiences, student-submitted survey data, and recommendations regarding these issues followed by a dialogue with Mayor Dean discussing possible initiatives to raise awareness of each issue. Mayor Dean spoke with MYC students about the importance of MYC core issues, connections to current citywide priorities (Education, Safety, and Health), and what can be done to solicit youth responses and feedback as often as possible. Notes and recommendations from the meeting were recorded and incorporated 2015-16 planning efforts. Mayor Megan Barry is tentatively scheduled to meet with MYC in April 2016.
- In November 2015, in partnership with the National League of Cities Congress of Cities Conference, MYC hosted a dinner & dialogue event for 200+ youth civic leaders from across the nation. The event, held at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody School, provided a nationally representative group of youth the opportunity to learn and network in small group discussions centered on relevant youth issues. Members of MYC facilitated each small group discussion and led breakout sessions designed to increase the effectiveness of youth leaders and develop action plans for youth to take back to their respective cities. MYC also organized a scavenger hunt for the 200+ delegates to experience downtown Nashville and learn about the city’s rich history.
- In January 2016, MYC partnered with the Davidson County Election Commission, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper and State Sen. Steve Dickerson to implement a citywide youth voter registration drive focused on public and private high school students and resulted in an 85% increase in registered youth voters. The month-long effort included assemblies and voter registration initiatives at 34 individual schools and registered 2,865 new voters in Davidson County, almost doubling the record of 1,551 new student voters set last year. As part of registration efforts, MYC also created a special ballot for students at McGavock, Overton, Hillsboro and Stratford high schools which allowed students to practice voting using an actual voting machine. In all, 448 students took part in the mock vote, which featured five poll questions related to school/community resources, college access, and views on the presidential race.
- MYC students participated in several other community initiatives and engaged with local leaders throughout the year. Other activities included:
- Mayor’s Youth Violence Summit – In January 2016 MYC joined over 400 Nashville youth to participate in Mayor Megan Barry’s Youth Violence Summit hosted at Rocketown. With the help of adult facilitators, youth brainstormed ideas of how to curtail Nashville violence. Following the Summit, MYC offered youth participants the opportunity to join a special youth task force to continue their engagement in the youth violence effort and support any related initiatives.
- NashvilleNext – MYC youth provided input to the Metro Planning Department’s effort helping to produce the Youth Engagement Plan of the NashvilleNext report.
- Celebrate Nashville – MYC youth participated in the annual festival by creating the World Map which allowed international residents of Nashville to pinpoint their origins, highlighting the diversity of culture among Nashville residents.
- GAP Groups – MYC students engaged Metro Government through GAP Teams (Government Action Project) in which youth met with stakeholders in various government agencies to learn how young people can support the goals of local government, and how local government can better serve the needs of youth. MYC youth met with multiple agencies including the Arts Commission, Public Health Department, Public Library, and Metro Police Department.
On February 24, 2016, Mayor Megan Barry signed an Executive Order (25) reauthorizing the Mayor’s Youth Council of Nashville and Davidson County.