Written by Tim Sun
The Palo Alto Youth Council (PAYC) is a teen organization that works with Palo Alto City Council to find solutions to teen issues. The group is sponsored by the City and is comprised of 20 teens from Palo Alto schools.
Students in the group are divided into various sub-committees through which they work on community projects. One of PAYC’s major events is an annual mental health forum, during which students and adults come together to discuss topics such as stigma, academic stress and familial pressure.
PAYC also partners with Think Fund, formerly known as the Bryant Street Garage Fund, a community organization that finances student projects. Senior Kevin Ji is a member of PAYC and organized last year’s intramural basketball tournament, which was created to counter stress among students. “I really enjoy planning activities for the community at large,” he said. “I can really feel creative in order to create solutions for student issues.”
PAYC is also planning other events like a job fair in downtown Palo Alto to connect students and local businesses. The council is currently working on PA Roots, a literary magazine that gives high schoolers a platform to voice their opinions, and Titan Triumph, an initiative to reward students for more than just their academic achievements.
Ji encourages students, particularly underclassmen, to join PAYC to get involved in the community and have their opinions heard. “We live in the city of Palo Alto, so every action that City Council does really affects each and every one of us, and I think that everyone should have the opportunity to express their voice,” Ji said.