Mayors in the making

Three students connect with Mayor Stothert

Megan Townsend, Staff Writer

Employment, low-income schools, and disability accessibility. These are issues that are often forgotten, but once a month students from across the Omaha metro area meet to face these issues head on, side by side with Mayor Jean Stothert, as part of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee.

For senior Brindavani Mudhapati and juniors Reeyan Bhakat and Neal Agarwal, this opportunity to promote positive change in Omaha was a no-brainer to apply for.

“It’s kind of like a volunteer service in a way. We don’t just talk with the mayor, we actually do something for the community,” Mudhapati said.

Every year, the committee focuses on a new topic. Last year, they focused on low-income neighborhoods and what the mayor could offer them for free to better their lives.

Throughout the year, they did research on what services could be provided and made an inclusive guide on the subject. At the end of the year, they presented it to the mayor and got to see the trials of their work pay off in low-income neighborhoods.

Though meetings haven’t started yet, the Mayor Youth Advisory students are already thinking about this year’s topic.

This past year Bhakat volunteered at the Munroe-Meyer center, an institute that focuses on the development of children with physical and learning disabilities.

“I went to their school, and their school was not in good condition, so I was thinking about voicing on how we could help that community, especially in Omaha,” Bhakat said.

Its issues like these that are often overlooked by adults. To students, though, these issues are close to home and easy to help. Youth provide a new outlook on these issues because they’re able to see them in real life.

Students just like Bhakat will help mold the future by seeing the world’s issues, thinking of how to fix them, and acting.

With the help of youth, government officials are able to gain a new perspective on what issues need to be faced within a community and how best they should be faced.

The decisions made by the adults of today affect the adults of tomorrow, and by giving youth a platform to speak out on what matters to them, the world can be bettered into what it needs to be in the future.