On January 28th the Malden Youth Civics Council held an ice cream social event where students were given the opportunity to meet their local R
Among the elected officials who attended the event was Mayor Gary Christenson, State Representative Steve Ultrino, State Senator Jason Lewis, Malden Ward One Councillor Peg Crowe, Ward Four Councilor Ryan O’Malley, Ward Five Councillor Barbara Murphy, Councillor at Large Stephen Winslow and Ward Three School Committee member Jennifer Spadafora.
The Malden Youth Civics Council hosted this event was for the students. Junior Lana Giha, a member of the Civics Council, explained that “the purpose of the event was to educate the youth and allow them an opportunity to learn about the local government and how it works, meeting their Representatives on the local and state level, as well as having the ability to ask questions directed to their Representatives.”
The event started with the panel of politicians giving a brief introduction of themselves and so explaining what their positions are and what it entails, and what their platform is.
After the introduction, there was time for students to ask the panel any questions that they had about local and state politics. There was a range of different questions from topics involving pollution in the Malden River to the lack of funding at Salemwood School. Mayor Christenson said that the questions were “very well-articulated.”
Once all of the questions were answered there was a time for all the attendees to eat ice cream and get to personally approach and talk to anyone in the panel. Jenny Chen explained that this event and the activities were there to help with “bridging the disconnect between citizens and politicians in power, meeting the new R
School Committee member Jennifer Spadafora explained that “there were many things [she] enjoyed about the Meet Your Elected Officials event."
"Being able to hear from [her] colleagues and their thoughts on the city, and our youth was a benefit to [her], especially in such a relaxed setting. Also, the students that attended and asked questions really put thought into those questions. [She] found the whole event to be extremely informative. Also, the ice cream was an added bonus.”
Senior Birukti Tsige, the First Chair of the Malden Youth Civics Council, explained that the Council hopes that students “have made relationships with their local politicians or in the very least, recognize their [Representatives] and understand that the government [is not] some distant entity and they can contact them whenever they want.”
The elected officials present also enjoyed their time with the students.
Steve Ultrino explained that “[he] honestly hope[s] [students] now feel more comfortable meeting their elected officials, knowing that they have a voice and understand how important advocacy is in today’s society.”
Jason Lewis stated that “the best part of the event for [him] was the thoughtful questions posed by the students to the elected leaders who attended." He elaborated that the questions the students asked were "relevant, specific and often challenging," which "demonstrated the students’ serious commitment to civic engagement and their deep involvement in the Malden community.”
The Malden Youth Civics Council will continue to organize events that engage students to civically engage.