Published on: Wednesday, December 13, 2023 News

Meet the New Youth Council


by Haven Rhodd

Let’s give a warm welcome to our new Takoma Park Youth Council, who range from grade 7 to 12 and represent all six wards of the city. The youth council was recently restructured under the Recreation Department, and the City Council appointed this year’s cohort: Ava Bedaque (Ward 2), Nuhamin Michael (Ward 2), Maeve Monahan (Ward 3), Nathaniel DeRoche (Ward 3), Anand Ginsburg-Shukla (Ward 3), Safi ya Sorenson (Ward 3), Leul Wondwosen (Ward 4), Leah Kirschner Ward 5), and Kalib Bond (Ward 6). Two more seats are available, which may be filled later.

The purpose of the youth council is to give the youth of Takoma Park the opportunity to learn about and appreciate local government. It also provides a chance for the municipal government to better understand the needs and wishes of local youth. The youth council plans and implements social, educational, cultural and recreational activities for the youth. It also works with the mayor, city council, city departments, and service organizations to provide service and leadership opportunities for the youth of the city and instill positive self-worth.

“The thing I like best about living in Takoma Park is the effort the Takoma Park city government has put in to encourage youth engagement in the government and the community,” says Youth Councilmember Leah Kirschner. “Policies and programs such as setting the voting age to 16, this Youth Advisory Council, and offering programs such as a Summer Youth Employment Program are great efforts to help prepare people my age for adulthood. These are all great ways for young people to learn how they can make a difference in their community and the impact they can have at a young age.”

“One idea I have for making positive change for young people in the city is having an approval process for art that residents want to make on their sidewalk outside their house or working together in public spaces to make art,” says Maeve Monahan. “I think these types of programs add to the city’s beauty and culture, which are two things that are important to having a close community. I think with a process in place we could help make more projects happen, which would add to our community spirit”.

Nathaniel DeRoche also has an interest in public spaces, including “making our streets safer, advocating for protected bike lanes, as well as new, denser, more walkable and accessible development.”

Anand Ginsburg-Shukla suggests “holding more festivals/events that represent and emphasize the diversity of the city—especially that target the city’s youth—could be a great way to make positive change and build a strong community.”

“I love that everyone in this community is so kind and supportive,” says Kalib Bond.

“One of the best things about living in Takoma Park is the diversity and strong sense of community,” adds Nuhamin Michael. “The bond between residents creates a supportive environment and close-knit community.”

The youth council has already held a Thanksgiving food drive and is currently holding a winter clothing drive. They are planning other community events and activities for the spring.

The Takoma Park Youth Council can be contacted at

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