Photo By: COURTESY OF LAH YOUTH COMMISSION
Although Leonardo Patmore-Zarcone, a junior at Los Altos High School, expresses frustration with the way some adult members of the community stereotype him and other youth, he said he feels empowered to change that perspective through his leadership as co-chairman of the Los Altos Hills Youth Commission.
After learning about the Youth Commission through his mother, Patmore-Zarcone applied and began serving in spring 2010. Created in 2009 to connect local youth, the 20-member commission advises the Community Relations Committee.
“I’ve gotten more into how government works since I joined the commission,” said Patmore-Zarcone. “I’m inspired to be more involved in the community.”
Like their adult counterparts on the town’s 14 standing committees and commissions, Youth Commission members are appointed after submitting an application and presenting a 1-2 minute speech before the council. Even though many can’t yet drive or vote, these young volunteer commissioners take their civic responsibilities seriously.
“You should try (to attend all meetings) or you’ll be a bit uninformed,” said A.J. Uppal, a seventh-grader who attends Bullis Charter School.
Uppal serves as one of three associate members and looks forward to joining his older sister, Sonia, on the commission when a seat opens.
“You can create things and be involved with innovation – not just go on the computer and get your brain moldy,” he said.
In addition to attending meetings twice a month, the 20-member Los Altos Hills Youth Commission organizes several events a year, including the Halloween Monster Bash and a movie night for junior high school students.
At last month’s town Hoedown, commissioners coordinated the children’s craft tables, operated the cider press and served popcorn and ice cream. The commission also volunteers at the annual Pathways Run and the Los Altos Hills Town Picnic.
“The community gives us so much,” said Youth Commissioner Sonia Uppal, a freshman at Los Altos High School. “It’s a great way to give back.”
In the next few weeks, the Youth Commission will finalize logistics for the Halloween Monster Bash Dance, scheduled 7-10 p.m. Oct. 27 at American Legion Hall No. 558, 347 First St., Los Altos. The commission has already hired a disc jockey and selected decorations. It is now coordinating details for the food and drinks they plan to serve to area high school students.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Sonia Uppal, who is eager to see the rewards of her event-planning skills. “You get to meet other high school students from all over the city.”
For more information, visit facebook.com/LAHYC/events.