Youth Advisory Board Honored By District Attorney CapelessBy Andy McKeever
12:01PM / Tuesday, May 15, 2012
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Sometimes parents overreact, underreact, or just don't know what to do when it comes to cyberbullying, drinking and other teen issues.
Students Tara Sullivan and Glen Bona shared their reflections on the year of projects during the ceremony.
For the past year, a group of student representatives from local high schools tried to educate not only adults but their peers about the issues.
The District Attorney's Youth Advisory Board members were honored on Tuesday morning for a series of projects they took on to give the community a younger voice on the issues.
"We needed to bring young people to the table," Carol Mulcahy, director of community outreach and education for the district attorney's office, said at the ceremony at the Beacon Cinema. "They have been one of the most productive boards we've ever had."
Last year, the board put on a daylong conference to teach middle school students about problems teens face. This year, it took a different approach and hosted a series of events to educate people of all ages.
"There was the hope that we would do the conference again but the funding didn't go through," District Attorney David F. Capeless said. "I am really proud of the work you've done."
First the students filmed a meeting between the board and Assistant District Attorney Robert Kinzer on a DVD that will be used to show parents and students about the different kinds of bullying and ways to approach it. That video was shown during the ceremony.
They then participated in a candlelight vigil for victims of drunken-driving accidents, created a trivia game about underage drinking, spoke with senior citizens at Kimball Farms in Lenox and held a cyberbullying workshop with students at Egremont Elementary School.
District Attorney David Capeless said students' input is important in helping adults know how to handle various situations.
"I like the take this year, to do a lot of little projects for different age groups," said Taconic High School student Glen Bona, who was on the board last year, too. "Every time I just felt better that I helped someone else."
For Mount Everett Regional School student Tara Sullivan, the most project that was the most fun was teaching the elementary school pupils about cyberbullying but the most moving was the candlelight vigil — when nearly the entire board was "in tears" by the end of it.
"This year, we really did a lot and it was great to be on the board," Sullivan said.
The 25-member group met once a month to organize events. It is funded through Capeless' office and is designed as a partnership between the youth and his office to help stop crime before it starts.
"The whole purpose of the board is to hear from them," Capeless said. "You've done a great job without my help because your voice is what is important to us."