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Youth commissioners advocate for change throughout Marin

Tiburon teens Charlie de Belloy (left) and Sammy Lee have each served on the Marin County Youth Commission for two years, working alongside their peers to explore issues ranging from housing and homelessness to educational equity and mental health. (Elliot Karlan photo / For The Ark)

Tiburon teens Charlie de Belloy and Sammy Lee both say it’s important for young people to be actively engaged in their communities.

“I don’t want to just be changed by a community around me that I have no interest or no active say in,” says Charlie, 15. “If something’s going to be changed for me, I want to be a part of that.”

Sammy, 16, agrees. “I think in the past, young people have been disregarded or pushed to the side because we’re not adults,” he says. But, he points out, kids his age are the ones who are going to be living with the decisions being made by adults now. “All of the issues out there, they affect young people just as much as they affect other people,” he says.

The boys’ desire to help create change led each of them to join the Marin County Youth Commission, where for the past two years they’ve worked with nearly two dozen other teens to help tackle some of the county’s most pressing issues, from mental health and housing to substance abuse and educational equity. As commission members, they say, they’re not only using their voices to advocate for their peers, but they’re also striving to empower other teens to do the same.

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