Youth Voice, Youth Choice: Students Decide how to Spend $1 Million
No Longer Uninvited Sullivan High School Youth Play Key Role in the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting Process
The Peace and Leadership Council (PLC) at Sullivan High School in Rogers Park has been increasingly involved in community politics. This group of 15 youth leaders has dedicated the year to instituting youth voice in the participatory budgeting (PB) process in the 49th ward and showing their community their dedication to bettering the neighborhood. The youth group will play a key role in the PB process this year by helping the community decide how to spend $1 million of the ward budget. The Sullivan PLC first got involved with participatory budgeting three years ago when they teamed up with PB Chicago, an organization that supports local groups in the PB process, and together, launched a major school-wide campaign to get students to participate in PB voting. The PLC has continued the movement with some big project wins. Last year they successfully won the community’s votes to add bus stop benches along major bus routes near the school, and to also add street and alley lights around Sullivan and Kilmer Elementary.
In order to prepare for PB, the PLC spent the fall semester identifying the assets and deficits of Rogers Park and brainstorming ideas about how they could use PB funds. They did observational research through walking tours around the neighborhood, along with conducting focus groups and a survey to get peer input on neighborhood issues. Once they narrow down to the top ten project ideas, they work with Principal Chad Adams and Alderman Joe Moore to get feedback from them about feasibility.
A very special thanks to the continued support from Maria Hadden of PB Chicago and Bob Fuller and Cecilia Salinas from the 49th ward office.
Please watch our video blog diaries to get better insight into the PB process!