In September, the Upper School Community Action class visited City Council Member Gale Brewer’s office on the Upper West Side. They learned about local government, more specifically about participatory budgeting, a form of citizen participation in which community members are involved in the process of deciding how a portion of the city’s budget is spent on capital projects locally. Director of Budget and Legislation Leonardo Bullaro explained how the students could get involved in participatory budgeting through voting and canvassing.
Excited about their ability to participate, the students were ready to start the process. The Upper Schoolers went on the streets of the Upper West Side, shared flyers with residents and spoke with them about how to submit ideas to the community and how they can vote in the spring from March 25-April 2, 2023. The students were thrilled by these interactions; they felt seen, heard and excited to make a difference. Many of them look forward to voting in the spring (people under 18 can vote in participatory budgeting) and telling their friends about the opportunity.
These lessons and experiences with community involvement show students that they can make changes in their own backyard. Being active citizens is an extension of being active community members at Calhoun, and students can take these skills to make a lasting impact on the world.
For more information, check out Gale Brewer’s website.