The meetings are offered by the city of Toledo to hear the ideas and concerns of young people who have been affected by violence.

TOLEDO, OH – City of Toledo wants to hear the ideas and concerns of its youth about the violence in the City of Glass.

The Youth Be Heard sessions were created to learn more about the issues of violence faced by young people.

Participants at Monday night’s meeting at the Washington Branch Library discussed mostly safety and education and solutions at the second Toledo City Session of its kind.

Participants said they understand that violence is a community-wide problem, and it doesn’t matter what your zip code is. If it affects one of us, it affects us all.

“It’s clear that gun control and gun violence is a huge issue in Toledo, not to mention the world,” said participant Brycen Davis.

“I think we’re seeing the same thing from all the kids, which is that they really want us to focus on violence, specifically gun violence,” said Danielle Cisterino, the city’s youth commissioner. “We’ve definitely heard some things about health and mental well-being, so I think all kids are seeing the same things no matter what zip code they live in.”

Toledo’s homicide rate has skyrocketed since 2020. 62 homicides were reported in 2020, compared to 35 in 2019.

The city’s youth program coordinator Davion Beach said the violence in Toledo has affected these children and will affect their actions in the future.

“Youth are the future and the present,” Beach said. “I think it’s important to hear what young people can offer to our city to make it better. They will live in it and grow.”

If the city can create programs or support educational initiatives to address violence and mental health, it can help a lot. The goal is to implement some of the decisions from the Youth Will Be Heard sessions in the next few months, Beach said.

“I think it’s really important for young children to develop the skills they need to succeed in the adult world,” Davis said. “To start at a young age can give them a head start when it comes time to look for a career and earn a living.”

The city accepts four more sessions. The next session is on Tuesday from 4.30pm to 6pm at the Library of Birmingham.

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