We had our 3rd and final group interview with 15 excellent ONEin3ers this morning, all vying to be part of the ONEin3 Boston Mayor’s Advisory Council. It seems like every year at least one of the interview groups is significantly weaker than the other two, but not so this year. All three sessions were really solid, with interesting and thoughtful conversation about Boston.
Each of these interviews serves two important functions. Of course, they help us to select the Council, but they also function as echoes of the 19 focus groups that were the official beginning of the ONEin3 Boston initiative. Our selection committee loves doing these interviews because they help us keep our focus on the most important issues that face young people in Boston.
The format of these conversations is pretty basic. We sit in one big group around a table and ask each participant to introduce him or herself. Each participants tell the group one thing that he or she likes about Boston and one thing that could be improved. Once we have all those goods and bads on the table, we move into an open discussion of a couple issues that emerge in their introductory comments.
(Read on for more on what we discussed and please head to the comments to tell us what you think!)
Over the course of the three sessions we talked about:
- Youth violence and ways that ONEin3ers can engage to address the problem
- Integrating college students into the life of the city
- Smoothing the transition of college students into internships and jobs in Boston
- Ensuring that all neighborhoods have adequate services
- Exposing young people to the social and cultural life of neighborhoods across the city
- Reducing housing costs citywide or housing support for young people
- Providing information on affordable neighborhoods that often go overlooked
- Why do we vote in such low numbers?
- Creating Board opportunities for young people
- The scarcity and high cost of liquor licenses
- Keeping the T open late!
- Improving the quality of the Boston Public Schools
- Improving how we communicate that quality schools exist in the BPS system
- Demystifying the school selection process
- Mentorship by ONEin3ers of high school/middle school students
- Mentorship of ONEin3ers by older, more experienced Bostonians
- What’s In It For Me! How we build engagement opportunities for students and young residents that provide direct benefit for them as participants
- DIVERSITY! Diversity in professional circles, across and within neighborhoods, socially, civically and politically. Diversity has been a challenge for Boston for a long time.
- Supporting entrepreneurship
Aaannd, I could go on forever. Needless to say, we had some robust conversations.
Some of the big themes that came out of this year’s conversations are:
- The importance of partnerships in a time of scarce resources
- ONEin3 Boston’s special opportunity to act as a convener of groups and service providers
- The unique opportunity for Boston to capitalize more effectively on the energy and expertise of it students
I’m sure I’m leaving something out, probably because I’m tired from my early morning wake ups!
For you blog readers, what are some issues that you see out there that we’re missing? What are the most important improvements we can make and how should we go about doing them?
Major thanks to everyone who participated today and last week. I look forward to working closely with you!
PS. Look for a post soon on all of the great work that the 2009-10 Council put in!