Youth Council Doubles Meetings To Help Homeless Students And To Plan Fund-Raisers

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The Payson Area Youth Council has doubled its meeting schedule this year to help more homeless and struggling teens and ramp up its fund-raising efforts.

The group of high school students will start meeting twice a month to plan a host of activities and fund-raisers, a band of teen members told the Payson Town Council on Thursday.

The group offers advice on programs important to teens to both the Payson and Star Valley Town Councils.

The Youth Council has previously staged fund-raisers and conducted surveys. Those surveys have documented concerns of teens in town, which mostly center on wanting more things to do and places to go — together with concerns about drinking, driving and other problems caused by boredom and drug use.

Now, the Youth Council wants to get more directly involved in existing campaigns to improve the lot of Payson residents overall.

For instance, the Youth Council plans to team up with Payson Assisting Displaced Students, which works to find support and shelter for students who don’t have a reliable, consistent place to live — including some who are homeless.

The number of “displaced” students in the Payson Unified School District rose from 174 in 2007 to 363 in 2010. Since then, the total has risen to some 600 — about a quarter of the district’s enrollment.

The Youth Council told the town council it will also get involved in Project Ignition, a project at the high school intended to educate students about the dangers of drinking and driving and other reckless decisions.

Finally, the Youth Council will get involved in supporting Relay for Life, which raises money for breast cancer research.

“We’re thrilled you’re here,” said Payson Mayor Kenny Evans after the group’s presentation.

“That was a very good presentation,” said Councilor Fred Carpenter, a former town manager. “We’re proud of you.”

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