The day after the presidential election, Julie Mallis got a call: There were some “long faces” at Arsenal Middle School. Could she come over and help?
As the education program manager for advocacy organization Bike Pittsburgh, Mallis works with students at Arsenal regularly through a cycling and civic engagement program called Positive Spin.
So after the election, Mallis and others — including those from Assemble, an art and technology organization — worked with the students to draw their dream future and write letters to the neighborhood. From there, it grew to something bigger, gaining funding from The Sprout Fund’s 100 Days of US initiative for local activism during the first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency. (His 100th day is Saturday.)
On Thursday, more than 100 young Pittsburghers, from age 5 to 24, will share their visions and goals in a showcase and town hall from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. The City declared the day #PGHYouthVision Day.
Mallis told The Incline that several city leaders and community stakeholders were invited, with the goal of asking them to take young voices into consideration when making decisions. Anyone can attend to let young people know they are supported, but also to learn about their priorities, Mallis said.
Most of the young Pittsburghers involved aren’t old enough to vote, but one of the goals of Bike PGH’s youth programming is civic engagement, Mallis said, adding there are many other groups in the city doing similar work with students.
Thursday’s showcase and panel isn’t just Arsenal students, but students from across the city. Mallis said the focus was to invite as many middle and high school students, because that’s where conversations are happening. Mallis encouraged young Pittsburghers to use the hashtag #PGHyouthvision to join the conversation.
Often, adults can be surprised at how eloquent, informed and opinionated students can be, Mallis said, adding that there are a lot of ways for young people to contribute. And she’s hoping they’ll see the support and networks they have at Thursday’s event.
“This is only the beginning,” she said.
|What||More than 100 young Pittsburghers from age 5 to 24, will share their visions and goals in a showcase and town hall panel. There will also be musical performances and food.|
|Where||Kelly Strayhorn Theater at 5941 Penn Ave. (East Liberty)|
|When||April 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm|
|How much||Free, but reservations are recommended|