Northwest NEWS

February 1, 1999

Local News

Northshore teens attend Youth Summit

Youth Summit '99

Northshore students participate in Youth Summit '99.

Youth Summit '99

More than 180 students from Northshore junior and senior high schools met last week to discuss their concerns and possible solutions.
Photos courtesy of Sue Paro.

   It is the opinion of more than 180 students from Northshore junior and senior high schools who attended the Teen Northshore Youth Summit '99 on Monday, January 25, that they don't have safe places to hang out, there are not enough activities for teens, and that they feel it is important for teens to volunteer in their community.

   A total of twelve questions were included in the survey. Each student was provided with an electronic hand-held keypad which sent signals to a computer that instantly tallied the answers to each question as they were asked.

   "Youth need to have a voice in our community. They need to feel valued and respected. This summit is about raising awareness, beginning a conversation, identifying issues, and ultimately involving the teens in the solutions," said Sue Paro, Teen Northshore Executive Director.

   Amy Tsang and Aerin Orbits, both Inglemoor juniors, were the teen leaders of the Youth Summitt. The day started at 9 a.m. with Dr. Len Felez, who spoke about the importance of teenagers getting involved in their communities and taking charge of their own destiny.

   "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're absolutely right," Felez said to the students. Following his presentation, the students completed the survey before chosing two discussion groups from seven different topics.

   Almost 90% of the teens felt that adults in the community do not support and value young people. More than 50% of the students said they would not use a Metro bus to get around Northshore if it were available. The primary way youth hear about teen activites is through word of mouth, according to 73%. A Teen Board at each secondary school would help, felt 54% (Teen Northshore has this program).

   Youth facilitators led the discussion groups. Twenty-five community leaders and government officials came to listen to the ideas and suggested solutions from the teens.

   The electronic keypads and computer system were provided by Voice Pull Communications of Everett, Northshore School District, and Lake Washington School District.

   "I believe if we want these young people to grow up to be respectful, involved citizens, then we best begin right here and now. Northshore needs its young people's help in making our community a safe, caring place to live for everyone," said Paro.

   Teen Northshore can be reached 24 hours a day by calling 206-344-6417.