4:20pm

Mon August 8, 2011
Eastern and Central Kentucky

Youth 'Speak Out' Town Hall

Lexington area youth are invited to share their thoughts with city leaders Tuesday night during a town hall meeting.

The meeting, at the Lyric Theater, will be attended by several representatives of city agencies.  It’s sponsored by the Commission on Youth Development and Public Safety.  The commission was formed in June in response to criminal activity in the community.  Vontella Thomas, with the Mayor’s Youth Council, expects adult leaders to listen to teenager concerns.

“They did take the initiative and the time to set up the youth town hall meeting, which is something they did not have to do and I really believe if they didn’t want to hear what the kids had to say that they wouldn’t listen,” said Thomas.

Thomas believes increasing youth violence in school and out in the community is a response to various frustrations.  She says if young people speak to a trusted adult, some of the problems could be resolved. 

“Instead of taking it out on what they are really frustrated on and taking it head on, they’re choosing the easy way out by fighting someone.  So, if they had someone to talk about their issues with, whether it be stuff that’s going on at home or problems with school work or just anything, then I don’t think they would fight and violence would obviously go down,” added Thomas.

A community center dedicated to Lexington’s youth might be one way to release day to day tensions faced by today’s teenagers.  Vontella Thomas envisions a youth community center with an art studio, computer lab, and a place for social events.  She says such a community center might also include space for academics and games.

“A room where they could have tutoring separate from the computer lab, so that if they don’t need a computer they won’t be distracted by it sitting in front of them.  They could add a game room where the Wi competition and X-box and they could give who ever won a small prize and do that once a week, but leave the room open, just in case kids want to come and play throughout the week,” said Thomas.

There was discussion about a community wide youth center in Lexington several years ago.   The town hall meeting will run from six until eight Tuesday night at the Lyric.