Milton Youth Advocates forms to address lack of teen programming in town
New organization to create positive and safe out-of-school opportunities for youth
In November, a group of Milton residents attended a public forum to discuss plans for the Kidder Building, but while talking after the forum, realized they had another common concern—the lack of teen programming in Milton. Since then, the group has expanded to include over 20 members from all across town and organized under the name Milton Youth Advocates.
According to their mission statement, Milton Youth Advocates is a collaboration of Milton organizations and residents of all ages and backgrounds who are committed to working together to create positive and safe out-of-school opportunities for youth to socialize, relax, be creative, have fun and get the support they need to thrive in our community.
The Milton Youth Advocates are working with the Park Commissioners and recently met with the Board of Selectmen, School Committee, and Master Plan Implementation Committee to discuss their goals, which include finding existing space to utilize for youth programs, and ultimately creating a youth center.
“I am proud to say that this grassroots effort is happening at the same time that our elected officials are also eager to address this issue,” said Milton Youth Advocates member Sarah Callahan, referencing the Board of Selectmen’s commitment to forming a Youth Task Force. “This not only shows how great the need is, but it also helps to give so much hope that we will be successful because our community at large can work together towards this goal.”
Milton Youth Advocates have been meeting with a wide array of community members who work with youth and are familiar with the risks they face, including substance abuse. The Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition’s community youth assessment revealed that Milton teens have higher rates of depression and use alcohol and certain drugs at higher rates than their state teen counterparts.
To follow up on the MSAPC’s youth assessment, Milton Youth Advocates distributed their own survey to students at the middle and high schools to learn more about their needs. So far the general consensus is teens are stressed due to overscheduling, lack down time and want a place to hang out and relax.
“Milton Youth Advocates is committed – first and foremost – to making this process a wholly inclusive one, and we are excited to work with our town officials and their task force to ensure this. We are committed to ensuring that the voices of students are heard, loud and clear, and that this be a youth-centric process.”
For more information:
To get involved with the Milton Youth Advocates, email [email protected].