Youth Lead the Change - what would you do with $1 million?

Have you ever had an idea that could change your community? What would you say if you received $1 million to give it a shot?

This past week, as part of a project known as "Youth Lead the Change", Mayor Walsh gave a challenge to the youth of Boston, asking them to share their ideas about how to revitalize the community. He invites them to submit ideas for such projects online or at any of seven in-person assemblies around the city up until the end of March. These projects will be voted on this summer and, this fall, the most popular will receive a portion of - or possibly all of - a $1 million allocation of capital funds to get started. 

“Young people in Boston have a pulse on what is vibrant, exciting, and important to the future of our city,” Mayor Walsh said. “Youth Lead the Change provides them a way to have a voice in their local government and make important funding decisions.”

Ideas will be reviewed by a group called the "Change Agents", a team consisting of youths aged 12-25 aided by various design and construction experts. Throughout April and May, the members will assess the various ideas and eventually push ideas through, with the option of combining, modifying or dropping various aspects based on research and feedback. At the end of the process in June, any Boston resident aged 12-25 will be able to vote for those ideas they feel should receive funding this coming fall. The most voted-for projects that add up to $1 million will be sent to the Mayor's Office for approval. 

This direct democracy approach to budgeting has been adopted by other cities around the country, but it is the first time any city has specifically attempted to engage the youth population of a city:

“Youth Lead the Change is the first of its kind in the entire country! This is super exciting for Boston,” said Teena-Marie Johnson, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee.  “Young people all across the city work so hard to ensure that youth voices are at the center of decision making and this process is a step in the right direction."

If you have an idea that can make a change in your community, submit it online here or attend one of these upcoming assembly meetings:

  • Monday, March 17, 4-6pm- Grove Hall Community Center, Dorchester
  • Wednesday, March 19, 3:30-5:30pm- Paris Street Community Center, East Boston
  • Thursday, March 20, 4-6pm- Cleveland Community Center, Dorchester
  • Monday, March 24, 4-6pm- Roslindale Community Center, Roslindale
  • Tuesday, March 25, 4-6pm- Mildred Ave Community Center, Mattapan
  • Thursday, March 27, 5-7pm- Condon Community Center, South Boston

Need some inspiration? Check out ideas that have already been submitted here! 

Read the full press release on the City of Boston's website here!

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