Lancaster’s Youth in Government program gives students a say in city
Students get opportunity to interact with city employees
Participants in Lancaster’s Youth in Government program met for the second of their three meetings recently to suggest designs for the area of the city located at Ave. 15th West, from Avenue K to Avenue J-8. The city’s Youth in Government program has been in existence for 22 years and helps high-achieving high school students build skills through a series of activities regarding city operations.
“The quality of suggestions we receive from the students in our annual Youth in Government program never ceases to amaze me. There is no question in my mind that our future leaders will do magnificent job of leading our city,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Their parents, teachers and mentors should all be very proud of these fine young men and women.”
The students worked in four separate groups in designing the project. Landscape Architect Doug Grove, who has co-facilitated the program for 10 years, then took portions of each group’s ideas, combined them into two distinct design layouts, and presented them back to the students.
“The fact that the city of Lancaster dedicates such time and resources to this program year after year says a lot about the philosophy of the city. Not only do they take time to mentor their future leaders, they are also open to incorporating the valuable input they receive from these very bright young adults,” said Doug Grove, principal landscape architect, RHA Landscape Architects of Riverside, Calif.
Grove co-facilitated the day’s activities along with Melissa Varela, recreation coordinator for the city.
“Having the opportunity to watch the students work together and develop such innovative ideas is the best part for me. They always have fresh new ideas that are viable for projects we’re actually working on here at the city,” said Varela.
The Youth in Government program offers select students from all Lancaster high schools the opportunity to work with city employees and officials in various departments to expand their knowledge and awareness regarding the operations of local government.
“The program is such a fun and great experience. Meeting and interacting with new people and fellow students from different schools in the Lancaster area is something I will never forget. I would definitely participate in the program again,” said Michelle Temoche.
After the exercise, students then spent the afternoon meeting their counterparts to create staff reports. The reports were presented during the culminating event of the program—the Mock City Council Meeting in the Lancaster City Council Chambers (44933 N. Fern Avenue).
The city of Lancaster is now accepting applications for the fourth annual Uniting Neighbors in a Team Effort (UNITE) program.
Applications for the UNITE program are available on the city’s website at www.cityoflancasterca.org/unite and must be submitted by Friday, June 14 at 5 p.m. (postmark dates will not be accepted).
The program, which aims to help build safer and stronger neighborhoods, offers residents an opportunity to propose neighborhood improvement projects and compete for the resources and funding needed to make those projects a reality.
On Saturday, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Bureau, along with numerous teams, volunteers and city of Lancaster staff will conduct a survey in a specific Lancaster neighborhood with the purpose of identifying local crime and nuisance problems.
Teams will begin the door-to-door survey around 9 a.m. and continue until they have reached out to the nearly 600 homes in the area. The area to be surveyed is 10th Street West to Beech Avenue, and Avenue I to Avenue H-8. The area was identified after analysis of call and crime volume was conducted.
The Lancaster City Council is expected to vote on Dec. 11 on whether to appoint Cassandra D. Harvey to the council to replace Ron Smith, who was elected to the California State Assembly.
If approved, Harvey would be sworn in and take the seat that day and finish out the remainder of Smith’s term until April 2014.
She would also be the first African American woman to sit on the city’s governing body.
Harvey was nominated by Mayor R. Rex Parris.
The city of Lancaster, in collaboration with High Desert Runners and Rite Aid, is hosting a one-mile fun run/walk through downtown Lancaster. All are invited to take to the streets at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, as the trek from Lancaster City Hall down The BLVD in the Monster Mash Mile begins.
The Lancaster Neighborhood Vitalization Commission (LNVC) approved seven winning projects for the third annual UNITE (Uniting Neighbors in a Team Effort) program at its August meeting. The UNITE community projects, which focus on strengthening community ties, beautifying, and enhancing public safety in local neighborhoods, will take place Saturday, Sept. 22.