Through the 2002-04 MetLife Foundation Youth-City Connection project, the YEF Institute helped 22 cities develop and enhance municipal strategies for increasing the participation of young people in local government.
For over two decades, NLC and city leaders across the nation have sought creative and effective ways to ensure that youth have a "seat at the table" in their cities and towns.
The first phase of the Youth-City Connection technical assistance initiative helped 11 NLC member cities develop and implement strategies for expand youth participation and involvement in their cities and towns.
Project cities included: Brookings, S.D.; Caldwell, Idaho; Des Moines, Iowa; Fremont, Calif.; Galvestone, Texas; Lawton, Okla.; Macon, Ga.; Nashville, Tenn.; Newport News, Va.; Rock Hill, S.C.; and Tucson, Ariz. The cities launched and strengthened local youth councils, improved the capacity of youth development offices, and sponsored youth town hall events.
In phase two of the project, the Institute provided in-depth assistance to the cities of Dallas, Texas; Norfolk, Va.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Saginaw, Mich.; and Salt Lake City, Utah, through site visits and regular conference calls with city teams. These five cities also had the opportunity to network with each other through a cross-site meeting and calls.
Denver, Colo.; Liberal, Kan.; and Nashville, Tenn. received one-day site visits from NLC staff or partners. Another group of cities, including Baltimore, Md.; Inkster, Mich.; and Niles, Ill., participated in ongoing individual and cross-site phone calls with NLC staff and outside experts as they sought advice in forming local plans for youth participation.
Other activities included a regional training meeting for municipal officials, youth and other community leaders held in Orlando, Fla., in Feb. 2004, audioconferences on youth civic engagement, and membership in a new Youth Participation Advisors Network.