The City of Elizabeth is in the process of creating their 10-year Master Plan. Groundwork Elizabeth will provide opportunities for youth voices to coordinate policy proposals to mitigate the effects of this pandemic and prepare the community for probable similar experiences, while educating them about the positive difference that civic actions can make.
Our Youth worked towards Certification, as suggested by CIRCLE, for building their resumes and skills for CIVIC Engagement. They worked for days on a course which would lead to their certification from CITI- Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative. All achieved certification status, helped along by Youth leaders Stephania and Dionis. They also met with a key policymaker to increase their awareness of the workings on government, via a Zoom meeting with Sergio Granados, a Freeholder for Union County, and met with a youth who is now a leader within Groundwork, Lucy Crespo, who has in the past helped our Youth program with policy issues. She served as inspiration for the team.
All youth were assisted in their work in gaining CITI certification. Also, youth developed specific questions for the Union County Freeholder on how government works to improve the community. A specific question from one youth was, “how can we make our parks safer, if we want people to go outdoors more during a pandemic for their physical and mental health. Some of the lights along the trail and in the parks are out”. The Freeholder made an immediate call/text to the UC Director of Parks and Recreation to address the issue, right as he was talking to the youth. Upon end of day reflection, the youth were super impressed that something they came up with could be acted on so quickly.