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Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council focuses on gun violence and mental health issues

This is the sixth year of the program
Posted at 10:04 PM, Jul 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-29 23:17:10-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Teens in Indianapolis are working on solutions to issues plaguing the city.

The sixth year of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council started on Saturday.

This year, the Marion County Commission on Youth and Camptown teamed up to host the first retreat.

“For us, it means a change to teach and share leadership skills and confidence, and build teamwork and respect for one another,” Camptown president Brent Freeman said.

This year, the group of teens will be looking at solutions to gun violence and substance abuse in Indianapolis. They'll work as advisers to Mayor Hogsett.

On Saturday, the teens spoke with the mayor about their ideas.

“We’re focusing mainly on substance abuse because as youth we see it in high school students. Mainly, we see substance use and it’s affecting mental health. It leads to gun violence and so many other issues,” participant Salsabil Qaddoura said.

“We felt like as teens those are kind of the biggest issues blaring in our faces here in Indianapolis. We want to see what we can do as a council to make a change to improve lives for Indianapolis youth,” returning participant Eli Aldrich said.

Over the next school year, they'll look for solutions to these issues and come up with plans.

"It’s not something you should be afraid to do. It’s not something you should be embarrassed to do. Standing up for what you believe in is a noble thing and people should continue doing that," Qaddoura said.