PHILADELPHIA – Last night, Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At-Large) and Councilmember Isaiah Thomas (At-Large) convened over 30 community members for a conversation about the need for more support and opportunities for young people in Philadelphia. Participants reviewed the research-based solutions outlined in Councilmember Brooks’s recently released white paper, “A Plan for Philly Families,” which calls for modernizing public schools, expanding out-of-school and job opportunities, and fully funding libraries and recreation centers.
At the event, “Let’s Talk About Opportunities for Young People,” participants made connections between the lack of opportunities for young people and the current gun violence crisis in Philadelphia. They applauded the solutions laid out in the plan and shared feedback on how these solutions could be enacted during City Council’s next term.
“This conversation is about the families who are struggling like never before to find safe, nurturing spaces for young people,” said Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At-Large), addressing the assembled community members. “It’s about getting to know the research, so that we’re ready with the evidence about how this issue affects us and what solutions we want to see. And it’s about bringing your voices and your experiences into the conversation.”
“I have spent my life before Council, and as a Councilmember, working for our young people – a passion Councilmember Brooks and I share,” said Councilmember Isaiah Thomas (At-Large). “As a father, Councilmember, and coach, I believe we need more opportunities for young people. When we engage a young person meaningfully – after school, during school, or at home – we don’t know how many lives we save.”
“In her Plan for Philly Families, Councilmember Brooks highlights many issues that are central to Our City Our Schools coalition members’ work, from advocating for safe, modern school buildings through our Transform Our Schools campaign to bringing together parents and family members from school communities across the city at our annual Parents Summit,” said Laurie Mazer of the Our City Our Schools coalition. “We are so glad to be part of this event, and we share Councilmember Brooks’s commitment to investing in young people as the future of our city.”
“Our children and young adults are on the frontlines of building a world that is more empathetic, more just, and, thus, stronger and safer for everyone,” said State Senator Nikil Saval (Senate District 1) in a statement. “It is on all of us to provide them with the care, support, and resources they need to do this work. There is no more important task. I’m grateful to Councilmembers Brooks and Thomas for centering the voices of young people and communities as our city works to meet their needs.”
Councilmember Brooks’s Plan for Philly Families includes five pillars, each representing a basic goal shared by all families: a stable home, a safe neighborhood, good jobs, good health, and opportunities for young people. “Opportunities for Young People” focuses on six high-impact solutions:
- Modernize public schools.
- Expand out-of-school and job opportunities for young people.
- Fully fund and open all pools and recreation centers.
- Fully fund libraries.
- Engage young people as experts and collaborators in anti-violence efforts.
- Meet young people where they are with robust holistic services.
Councilmember Brooks is hosting community conversations on each of the five pillars of the plan. The first conversation, which took place on Tuesday, October 24th, was co-hosted by Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (At-Large) and focused on “Stable Homes for Working Families.” Conversations about the remaining three pillars will be scheduled for this winter.