Youth Commissioners improve connection between city council and kids

May 26, 2017 — by Ethan Ko and Navin Tiwary

Hundreds of Saratoga residents were packed into Congress Springs Park on March 19, all getting ready to take part in the city’s annual Color Run. What many of them may not have known was that the organizers were a dedicated group of teens who are part of the Saratoga Youth Commission.

The Youth Commission is composed of 11 students in middle school and high school, all of whom are appointed by the council for two-year terms. The commission’s goal is to make sure the city also serves the needs of those 18 and under.

City recreational coordinator Kayla Nakamoto said that she is excited to see what the commission will do for future events.

“I hope that they continue to put on events that bring our community together,” Nakamoto said.

Freshman Sathvik Kaliyur joined the Youth Commission in 2015 so he could advance students’ interest in the local city.

“As a commissioner, we run events and work on legislation to provide a bridge between the government and society,” Kaliyur said.

Sophomore Charles Debling, another commissioner, feels humbled by his experiences during the past two years.

“I have been fortunate to have organized and been involved in many events during my two-year term of office including the Tree Lighting Ceremony, the Color Run and the Tea Ceremony at Hakone gardens,” Debling said.  

Debling said that he often meets with the mayor and the city council to discuss the challenges facing Saratoga youths.

In July, the Youth Commission will transition to a new group of commissioners and will lose Saratoga sophomore Charles Debling, freshman Sathvik Kaliyur and junior Elora Pradhan.

“It’s sad that we have to leave, but it's exciting to see how the new people will take over and deal with the problems,” Debling said.

The change will bring a new group of teens to the commission.

Sophomore Kami Cheatham will be the only new member from Saratoga High. Cheatham is looking forward to helping the other commissioners improve the city and has already set a few of her own goals.

“As a commissioner I hope to further improve community events and try to bring Saratoga families and students closer together,” Cheatham said. “I also hope to improve my own leadership skills by learning from others and the future experiences to come. ”


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