Hosted by the Pasadena Youth Network and The Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families , on October 23rd at Pasadena High School , the State of the Youth was held for all youth to speak about their needs and priorities in our city. Six years ago, students, nonprofit leaders, and the City’s Public Health Department partnered to conduct a full assessment of student needs that resulted in the development of a Pasadena Youth Master Plan . The purpose of the plan is to envision a Pasadena with, “a youth-serving culture that is more than the sum of its parts – a city where each program and initiative collaborates to boost outcomes for individual children and families, while creating a culture of safety, of social and civic engagement, and of academic and vocational aspiration.” The annual gathering is intended to assess how well the plan is working and to identify any new areas that might need to be added to it.

With a focus on six priority areas--access to healthy food and environments; life ready; feeling free to be me; united youth support; buses & bikes; and alcohol, drugs and tobacco--youth were able to convene at tables of interest and discuss issues relating to these topics while the adults listened, and at times, asked clarifying questions. Some areas of concern among students were more mental health support (more availability at schools as well as peer training and support), improved transportation (more frequent buses, access to free bus passes, better lighting at bus stops and in neighborhoods when children walk home night), and a greater variety of safe and enjoyable places for kids to hang out after school. 

Among the many attending representatives from the city’s agencies, businesses and organizations were Mayor Terry Tornek and Vice Mayor Tyron Hampton. Both talked to the youth and stated that they took the students’ comments and concerns very seriously. Councilmember Hampton additionally suggested all students download the Pasadena Citizen Service app ( Google / Apple ) to their phones, which gives residents, businesses, and visitors access to City hall 24/7 for graffiti, potholes, lights out, etc.

For those youth unable to attend this meeting, they can stay involved by attending the Youth Network meetings which takes place at 4:00 pm every first Wednesday of the month, on the fourth floor of the Pasadena Central Library .