The Joplin city council has a new advisory board that will provide input from a certain demographic of residents.
25 percent of residents are under the age of 18, and the city is looking to hear more from them. This new youth council will allow 9 students from the Joplin area to give their thoughts and opinions on city business. There’s some mixed emotions from some Thomas Jefferson students, but they all were very vocal on some issues that could be addressed.
“We could present a valuable side of the story you wouldn’t get from just a normal city council,” says Savannah Dillard, T.J. Junior.
“I don’t know if we have the mental or emotional maturity to kind of make the decisions that would affect in an entire town,” says Dillon Dodge, T.J. Junior.
The Joplin city council will have a new advisory board that consists solely of people under the age of 18. Councilwoman Melodee Colbert-Kean and assistant to the city manager Taylor Cunningham brought the ordinance to council after seeing this large portion of Joplin residents underrepresented.
“Especially with 25 percent of Joplin resident being under 18- that’s a very large portion of of people who haven’t been represented, because it’s not like they can vote or anything,” says Savannah Dillard.
“It’s energizing to see that we’re getting another viewpoint. This is encouraging them to be engaged in how their city runs and what they hope to see as development and what they hope to see as entertainment,” says Melodee Colbert-Kean.
And even though there were mixed emotions about kids advising city council, there were a lot of topics they would like to have brought to council’s attention, like tobacco use among teenagers.
“It’s a fair issues. We’ve had some problems here and we know it’s a larger issue just in Joplin alone,” says Dillon Dodge.
“Just like taking down advertisements for it, because I see them all over the place,” says Colton Henkle.
And helping with the beautification of the city.
“I think a lot of teenagers would really be excited to help with that kind of thing whether it was actually with painting or any of the murals downtown or even just picking up trash or doing things like that,” says Savannah Dillard.
Councilwoman Colbert-Kean says the next step is to get the guidelines and the applications to the Joplin-area schools. She hopes to have the 9 students selected for the youth council in time for the next academic year.