Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

May 2, 2013

Youth Council urges town `Don't Stop Believing'

The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman

As the Andover Youth Council, we believe greatly in the building of the youth center. The first Youth Council was established in 1994 with a goal of having the voices of young people heard throughout the community. Establishing AYC helped to form the Andover Youth Services. The organization that has helped kids learn, create and be themselves for almost 20 years. Through years of hard work and believing, AYC has continued to work toward the dream of a place that supports all of the kids throughout our community. We understand the importance of a youth center as place not for ourselves, but for the future generations to continue learning from and enjoying the AYS experience.

The support from our town since the Special Town Meeting of December 2011 has been amazing to witness. We have been shown how much our community believes in the youth of Andover and we are thankful for it. Last month’s Believe Telethon will always have a special place in our hearts. With more than $150,000 raised, it displayed just how much the Andover community supports the youth center. More importantly, the involvement from elementary through high school students and onto parents, seniors and leaders of Andover demonstrated the potential our town has. We are truly blessed to have such strong support and every bit of help brings us one step closer to finally breaking ground this summer.

May 6, 7, and 8th is the next step in our journey. As many residents are already aware, this is the time of the annual Town Meeting at the Andover High School field house. This year, there are three articles that are critical toward the next steps to the youth center’s groundbreaking.

Articles 5 and 16 of annual Town Meeting both deal with logistical issues that are pertinent in the timely and cost-effective construction of the building. Articles 1 and 2 of the Special Town Meeting on Tuesday May 7 at 8:15 p.m. give voters an opportunity to support a creative partnership between youth and seniors to help construct the best building for the town. This unique cooperation promotes exactly the type of interaction beneficial for the growth and advancement of all people of Andover.

It is important to note how the generosity toward our dream has been relentless since the council was established. The time is now to continue to believe and bring this project to completion. The support throughout the years has meant much more than just a monetary donation; it has been our main fuel to the fire to keep believing in ourselves. We see this as an opportunity for our town to take a step forward toward a positive change. Together, we can make a change for the better. Don’t forget to make your voice heard at Town Meeting and thank you so much for giving the young people in our town a space to call their own.

Members of the Andover Youth Council