Local groups hosts event discussing youth issues in community

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COLUMBIA - The Youth Community Action Coalition will host its first Positive Youth Development Legislator Summit Thursday.

The coalition is partnering with the Columbia Youth Advisory Council in order to discuss youth related issues in the community.

According to the Youth Community Action Coalition's Strategic Coordinator Ron Rowe, the event was designed in order to give people in the area a chance to let their voices be heard by lawmakers.

"Over the past year the coalition has become more engaged in with state legislative issues and trying to educate our members and the public," Rowe said. "We really wanted to get them together and give them our perspective and let them know the concerns we have especially in issues dealing with youth."

The topics of the event include, youth substance abuse, violence and youth and academic achievement gaps.

These topics were chosen because of recent concerns from the community.

"We chose substance abuse because it is a main topic for the coalition, so that was the first topic we picked out," Rowe said. "Youth and violence, we wanted to have a youth perspective to include into the violence task force that has recently been formed over the past year in this city."

The Youth Community Coalition also partners with the Cradle to Career Alliance, which is a group that deals with academic disparities in the community.

Five local lawmakers will be present at the event.

The event will involve a presentation from the Columbia Youth Advisory Council, which is a new council approved this year and is students from the four Columbia High Schools.

The members of the Youth Advisory Council will discuss what problems they have noticed as younger members of the community.

Rowe said one of the topics to be discussed is the Prescription Drug Monitoring Act which was passed this year. The coalition wants to discuss with lawmakers how the act relates to youth substance abuse.

The event will also include a community question and answer session from the audience. This part was designed to give the community a chance to voice other concerns they may have.

The summit is from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Columbia City Hall.