The San Mateo County Youth Commission was established in 1993 — a huge win for youth voice at local decision-making tables. A recognized entity of city government, the Youth Commission increases awareness of and advocates for youth issues, advises the Board of Supervisors, presents policy recommendations, and creates projects that serve the community.
The San Mateo County Youth Commission is made up of 25 young people, ages 13-21, from across the county’s 5 districts. It is funded by the Health and Policy Planning Unit of the County’s Health System, and reports to the Board of Supervisors. As program lead, YLI ensures that there is equitable representation across the county, and particularly from underrepresented areas.
The program begins each year with a full-day retreat where freshly minted Commissioners work alongside returning Commissioners to review the California Healthy Kids Survey — a document that identifies areas of need for youth in the county — and receive training on cultural humility and equity from San Mateo Health Policy and Planning. In 2017-2018, the youth broke out into 5 committees to address the diverse issues facing San Mateo’s youth. They also organized and implemented the 2nd Annual Youth Summit, bringing together youth commissions from across the state to discuss key issues within their communities, share best practices, and formulate a vision for strengthening the network of youth leaders throughout California.
Their work was highlighted in this case study about the Get Healthy San Mateo County collaborative, which is advocating for health equity across the county.
Interested in serving as a Commissioner? Commissioners are appointed by the Board of Supervisors in July for 1-year terms with a 4-year term limit. Interested San Mateo youth, ages 13-21, may apply in early spring — commissioners are appointed by end of May. All youth are welcome to participate, but only appointed commissioners can vote. Commissioners are expected to attend an annual day-long retreat, followed by bi-monthly meetings during the school year. At least 10 hours of participation in community events is also required.
Missed the deadline? You can still participate as a public member. You won’t be able to vote, but you can attend meetings and offer your input.