Please read the information below carefully before continuing.
The Youth Commission is a group of 17 San Franciscans between the ages of 12 and 23. Each member of the Board of Supervisors appoints one Youth Commissioner, and the Mayor appoints six more.
WHAT WE DO:
Our job, which was created by the voters of San Francisco and makes us accountable to the whole City, is to stand up for the needs of all young people in the policy and legislative debates at City Hall.
Whether it comes to MUNI, housing, education, juvenile justice or health and wellness, we serve as authentic advisors on youth issues to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor. (See below for some examples of our recent work.)
We read laws, talk to Supervisors and the Mayor Office, hold discussions with other young people in our communities, organize events and hearings, do research on policy and write resolutions.
HOW WE DO IT:
Youth Commissioners can influence government in a number of ways:
The Youth Commission must consider any proposed law that would affect young people and decide whether or not the proposed law would be good for young people. Youth Commissioners then have opportunity to convince lawmakers to pass or reject the proposed law.
Youth Commissioners can develop their own policies and laws relating to young people and try to convince the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to pass them.
The Youth Commission is a serious time commitment and has a minimum time requirement of 15 hours per month.
There are full commission meetings that you are required to attend twice a month. Each commissioner also serves on an issue-based committee, which meets twice a month, and commissioners attend meetings and events in their communities as well.
DO I NEED PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE?
No! The only requirements are that you live in San Francisco and are between the ages of 12 and 23 when you are appointed. Youth commissioners should also be passionate about youth and community issues—about the decisions the City makes that affect you and your friends!
DO I GET PAID?
No—the City Charter doesn’t allow Youth Commissioners to be paid. However, you can receive health care.
WHAT WILL I LEARN?
All Youth Commissioners get the chance to develop their leadership and advocacy skills! Youth commissioners receive training on: legislative advocacy, community organizing, public speaking, power & oppression, social justice history, understanding City government and the City’s budget. Being a youth commissioner is a great way to serve your community, learn about politics, and grow your leadership as a principled and effective community advocate.
In 2017, Youth Commissioners took decisive action against the hate-filled rhetoric and racism that was on display in the President’s attempted Muslim ban and roll-back of protections for transgender students. In January, shortly after Trump’s inauguration, we hosted a town hall of over 80 young people at SF Public Library’s (SFPL) The Mix to discuss how young people can support one another and get involved in work for social justice. In April 2017, we passed Resolution 1617-AL-02 [Resolution responding to the Presidency of Donald Trump and reaffirming San Francisco’s Youth’s commitment to the values of community, respect and solidarity, and urging the Mayor and Board of Supervisors to support young people’s leadership during this critical time]. We hosted a Youth Solidarity & Unity Rally with LGBTQ, Black, immigrant, Arab, and Muslim youth on the steps of City Hall that same month.
Youth Commissioners believe now is a particularly critical time to invest in the social justice leadership of young San Franciscans. With this in mind, Youth Commissioners hosted a youth townhall in partnership with the Department of Children, Youth & Their Families and SFPL’s The Mix in May 2017. “Key to the City: A Youth Townhall on Youth Leadership, Empowerment, and Organizing” drew over 70 youth who came to speak about the types of investments the City should make in youth leadership. Youth Commissioners facilitated discussion and feedback sessions to guide their recommendations regarding the City’s investments in youth leadership and empowerment.
FREE MUNI FAST PASSES FOR LOW-AND-MODERATE-INCOME YOUTH:
In February 2010, MUNI planned to raise the price of the Youth Fast Pass to $30/month at the same time as San Francisco students were experiencing cut-backs to yellow school bus service. After first working to get a limited number of discounted passes approved, the Youth Commission worked with community-based organizations to advocate for Free MUNI for San Francisco Youth. In 2012, MUNI’s Board of Directors approved a 16-month pilot that would provide 40,000 eligible youth free bus passes beginning in March 2013. In 2014, the program was made permanent! Over 35,000 low- and moderate-income San Francisco youth can now take transit for free!
LOWERING THE VOTING AGE TO 16:
Youth commissioners adopted a resolution calling for the voting age in municipal and school district elections to be lowered to 16 in San Francisco. Youth ages 16 and 17 can drive cars, work, pay taxes, drive, and otherwise held to adult standards, but can’t directly participate in the decisions that affect our lives by voting! As some in our country seek to limit the political participation of young people and communities of color, we want to expand the electorate in San Francisco and have the ideas of youth front and center when it comes to dreaming up solutions for our City!
WORKING FOR THE RIGHTS OF YOUTH IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM:
Members of the Youth Commission’s youth justice committee have worked on several initiatives aimed at protecting the rights of justice-system involved youth. Youth commissioners have promoted a restorative and rehabilitative approach to juvenile justice by advocating for full access to the recreation yard at juvenile hall. They have advocated against the arming of juvenile probation officers with firearms and for police training on youth-police interactions to promote better understanding and the use of de-escalation techniques.
WORKING WITH YOUTH WITH INCARCERATED PARENTS:
Since 2014, Youth Commissioners have partnered with youth advocates to highlight and address the needs of youth with incarcerated parents. In 2014, they helped hold a hearing at the Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services and Safety committee. In 2015, they advocated to successfully change the visiting age in county jails so that 16 and 17 year olds can visit their incarcerated parents.
STANDING UP FOR THE NEEDS OF UNDOCUMENTED YOUTH:
Since 2012, youth commissioners worked with City and community partners to expand workforce development programs for undocumented immigrant youth. In 2015, youth commissioners successfully advocated for City funding for a grant to cover application fees for youth applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
ADVOCATING FOR TRANSITIONAL AGED YOUTH:
Youth commissioners have consistently advocated for the needs of disconnected TAY ages 16-24, including TAY inclusion in the new Children & Youth Fund, and the establishment of a TAY housing plan and resources for homeless TAY.
Fill out the application (i.e., personal information, applicant agreement, and essay questions) and submit it to the Youth Commission (by fax, email, regular mail google form, or in person). The application is due by Friday, April 20th by 6pm (for hard copies) or by Sunday, April 22nd (for emailed, faxed copies, or google form submissions).
Come in for an interview with Youth Commission staff and youth commissioners. Exact dates and times will be announced after you turn in your application.
The Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s Office might ask you to come in and do their own interviews. You are welcome to contact the Mayor and the Board yourself! Just ask us how.
The Youth Commission makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s Office of who to appoint to the commission. Ultimately, the members of the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor choose who to appoint to the Youth Commission.
In some cases, appointing officials may appoint a currently-sitting youth commissioner for a second term. We understand the process can be a bit confusing, and so we encourage you to contact our office if you have questions. We hope the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors make their appointments by mid-June 2018 (or soon thereafter).
The 2018-2019 Youth Commission term begins at the Beginning of the Year Training Retreat in September 2018.
The Youth Commission is a serious time commitment. If appointed, in addition to the required 15 hours per month described above you are required:
(1) TO ATTEND A 2.5 DAY ORIENTATION TRAINING RETREAT FRIDAY EVENING, AUGUST 31, 2018 + ALL DAY SATURDAY AND SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1 & 2, 2018 (LABOR DAY WEEKEND).
(2) TO ATTEND ALL OF A FULL, TWO-DAY “MID YEAR” TRAINING RETREAT SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, JANUARY 12 & 13, 2019 (BEFORE THE MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. HOLIDAY)
The questions you will be asked to answer are:
1. Why do you want to be a Youth Commissioner? What is something unique about yourself that you want to bring to the Youth Commission?
2. What do you hope to learn while being on the Youth Commission?
3. What are some issues that affect you or your community? If you had a meeting with the Mayor or a member of the Board of Supervisors tomorrow, what would you talk about with them and advise them on?
4. What are some past accomplishments that you are proud of? What skill and/or experiences would you bring to the Youth Commission?
5. The Youth Commission requires a commitment of at least 15 hours a month. In order to truly make an impact, it is often necessary to go beyond that minimum commitment. What other commitments do you have during the school year and in what ways are you prepared to dedicate time to meet the Commission’s goals? Are you willing to make this a top priority?
6. Is there any additional information you would like to share with us about yourself?
Applications are due by Friday, April 20th (or Sunday, April 22nd if submitted via email, fax, or google form)
A PDF version of this application can be accessed on the Youth Commission website : sfgov.org/yc