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GLENDALE : ‘Summit’ to Assess Students’ Interests

Kids just wanna have fun--or do they?

Organizers of the upcoming Glendale Youth Summit say they hope to find out just how Glendale’s middle and high school students prefer to spend their time after school and during the summer, and then to work toward having new and better programs in the community to keep kids occupied.

“It’s going to be a brainstorming session,” Glendale Unified School District spokesman Vic Pallos said of the summit, scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Glendale High School. “We need to come up with some ideas for how the city as a whole can do a better job of providing activities for our young people.”

The event was conceived last summer and is being organized by a nine-member committee that includes representatives from the city, the school district and the business community. About 200 people are expected to participate, including 10 students from each of the district’s high schools and middle schools, plus city officials, school faculty members and representatives from dozens of community organizations and churches that have youth activities.

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Glendale Mayor Eileen Givens said the summit will probably become an annual event that continues to shape the development of youth programs.

“This is the first step in what we intend to be an ongoing youth task force,” Givens said. With last year’s closure of the nonprofit Glendale Teen Center--which struggled for two years to stay afloat amid funding problems--Givens said there is “a real community need” to find out what youth activities are offered and where the gaps are.

The four-hour summit will include an evaluation of youth activity programs in Glendale prepared by a marketing research firm hired by the city that surveyed about 1,200 kindergarten through 12th-grade students and about 600 parents.

There will also be discussion groups and a presentation by Harry Weinberg, former San Diego County superintendent of schools.

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Givens said she has been surprised by some survey results showing that kids are not just interested in after-school sports, but also in such activities as camping and movie clubs.

“One thing we’re also stressing is that we’re working on activities for all the kids, not just at-risk kids or gifted kids. We need to hear as many ideas as possible so we can work on having programs that they will participate in,” she said.


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