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    Santa Paula: Chair Michael Schouten Presents Youth Advisory Council Journey

    By Sheryl Hamlin

    During Public Presentations of the March 20, 2019 Santa Paula City Council Meeting, Michael Schouten, Chair of the Santa Paula Youth Advisory Council presented the productive journey of the Santa Paula Youth Advisory Council (YAC) as well as goals for future.

    Michael Schouten

    Michael Schouten acknowledged the other committee members: 

    • Vice Chair Nathan Ramos Rodriguez
    • Secretary Daniel Navarro
    • Committee Member Iris Perez
    • Committee Member Pedro Robles

    He also thanked the advisors: Beverly Ruiz and Council Member Crosswhite.

    Starting with peeling paint and stale carpet, the group transformed the space in Las Piedras Park into the Teen Center , which he said “has been transformed. Promoting Youth engagement and serving as a pillar in our community”.

    They the YAC jumped into the world of finance, which included the cost of renovation and staffing the center, so they learned about Measure T from Council Member Sobel who was then a member of the Measure T Commission.

    Since the Teen Center has opened, Michael Schouten noted that 20 to 25 teens come daily to the Teen Center.

    A key point in the report involved mental health issues:

    Aside from the Teen Center we have been focused on catering to the Youth’s needs using are constituents and the Youth Needs Assessment as our compass, in guiding us down this somewhat windy road of policy and community relations. According to the Youth Needs Assessment, mental health access was one of the major needs outlined. Since then Vice Chair Nathan Ramos Rodriquez has worked on creating an ad hoc committee that has been doing an amazing job partnering with various community agencies on bringing awareness to the lack of access to mental health within the community. Recently we heard from Dr. Sandy Gomez, from the Coalition for Family Harmony, who mentioned that they are looking for another community partner in order to provide counseling for our youth.

    He said the Ad Hoc Committee is looking at internships with various organizations across the county and looks forward to meeting with the City of Santa Paula. He also presented a critique of the Needs Assessment Survey.

    To read his entire presentation, click here: Youth Advisory Annual Update by Chair Michael A. Schouten

    History of the Youth Advisory Committee and the Needs Assessment Survey

    September 1, 2015, in Resolution Number 6950, the city council passed a motion to create the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC). Read about this here.

    In June 2017, the Measure T Chair Kristin Majda presented the concept of the Youth Needs Assessment Survey, which was to be done prior to spending the allocations suggested by the Measure T Commission. Read about that meeting here.

    At the June 27, 2017 council meeting, the council votes to spend the Measure T monies for youth services prior to the Needs Assessment Survey. The Chair speaks against this. Read about that meeting here.

    At the April 16, 2018 council meeting, Council Member Crosswhite reported on the Youth Townhall meeting where 110 attended. This was facilitated by the consultant hired for the Needs Assessment Survey. Read the report here.

    At the May 2018 council meeting, Jose Melgar from the Measure T Commission reiterated desire to hold spending until the study was completed. Read his statement here.

    At the December 5, 2018 council meeting, there is a discussion about a change in fee for the consultant performing the Needs Assessment Survey. Read that discussion here.

    The Survey is presented to the council on February 9, 2019. Read the results here.

    Reflection of Council Member Crosswhite

    Council Member Crosswhite said after the meeting that she had been working with the youth group unofficially for a year and now officially as the liaison from council. She said “ it has been a joy to journey with them as they determine what issues are most important to them and as they share their thoughts about how to improve city activities.” She added “Over the past year, the Youth Advisory Council has had great conversations about the Youth Center, mental health services, transportation, education, translation services, equity, internships and so much more.”. She hopes to schedule a joint meeting between the YAC and the Senior Advisory Council.


    Starting with the 2015 Resolution to the 2019 Status, the journey has been notably forward with each step making a bigger statement in the community.

    To watch the presentation of Michael Schouten, click here.


    For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com

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