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Youth task force works to unify action agenda.

NLC's Task Force on "The Future of Youth in America's Cities and Towns" met last week in Los Angeles, Calif. to continue its work on developing a report and set of recommendations dealing with the nation's youth.

Chief among the agenda items was the need for NLC to develop a better communications system among the various groups within the organization responsible for dealing with youth, family and education issues. The leadership from these various groups will meet during the Congress of Cities in New Orleans to develop a set of recommendations designed to consolidate the work of these groups and ensure that family, youth and education issues remain at the top of NLC's action agenda.

At the outset of the meeting, Task Force Chair, Carolyn Long Banks, councilmember, Atlanta, said she wanted the meeting to end with specific recommendations and some clear direction for NLC on how the organization should respond to the problems faced by youth.

Planning well in advance with the recognition that NLC's Education Task Force, Human Development Policy Committee, Advisory Council and Women in Municipal Government were all addressing youth issues from various perspectives, Banks had extended an invitation to each of these groups to attend the Los Angeles meeting.

Tim Owens, chair of NLC's Education Task Force, Abbe Land, first vice president of Women in Municipal Government and Katie Nack, NLC board liaison to the Human Development Policy Committee and Education Task Force attended the meeting and were in agreement that a joint meeting in New Orleans would be useful.

Charles Rachel, a 28 year-old street activist from Los Angeles, captivated the task force members as he talked about the recent disturbances in Los Angeles and provided his perspective on why it happened and what needed to be done to ease the pain and tension that still exist in his community

Rachel said to the group, "now that these former gang members have turned their lives around, they can't find jobs. Believe it or not, the neighborhoods are being cleaned up by kids and the people in the community; people go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning and find that buildings have been painted. All of this work is being supervised by former |Crypt' and |Bloods' gang members."

"Part of the reason for the violence that took place is that we've got more kids with experience in violence than in doing what's right," he said.

Los Angeles Councilmember Joy Picus hosted the meeting, which included visits to a day care center housed at city hall and the junior arts center at the Barnsdall Arts Park in Los Angeles.

The task force also received status reports from NLC staff on a survey of head start programs being jointly conducted by the youth and education task forces, reviewed a compilation of successful youth programs that will be featured in a special Nation's Cities Weekly report later this year, and discussed the development of a resource guide for conducting community youth forums.

Next steps for the task force include surveying its members for suggestions on local implementation steps for the recommendations made by the National Commission Children's final report.
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Title Annotation:includes related article on an address by street activist Charles Rachel; National League of Cities' Task Force on 'The Future of Youth in America's Cities and Towns'
Author:McCloud, Thom
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Aug 10, 1992
Words:525
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