Brewster High School Student Represents Putnam County in the New York State Governor’s Youth Council
Brewster High School junior Franceska Drejaj will represent Putnam County on the New York State Governor’s Youth Council. The Youth Council gives young people a voice on important issues, ensuring that the governor and other policymakers hear their opinions. Every county in New York State has a youth representative who works with other youth from surrounding counties.
Franceska was thrilled when she found out she had been chosen to represent Putnam County.
“I think it was the most rewarding feeling I've ever had,” she said. “To know that I was chosen to represent my county on a state level was, and still is, such a great honor. It's an opportunity that few kids get, so I truly felt like the luckiest sixteen year old in the world.”
Every few months, the Youth Council is tasked with considering specific issues facing policymakers. Sometimes there is a single topic; other times there are multiple topics and representatives choose which one to explore. Once they have a topic, they work together to research and write a proposal. Usually, the proposals are presented in front of an audience, but, due to COVID restrictions, they currently record their proposal and send it to the state for approval and overview. Franceska’s first meeting as part of the Youth Council took place over Zoom in late August.
Franceska learned about the Council through Putnam County Youth Court, a court diversion program in which volunteers like herself hear the cases of first time offenders between the ages of 7 and 17. An official with the program told her about the Youth Council and recommended her for it.
“I’ve had a passion for politics and our governmental system since sixth grade, and it’s been what I wanted to pursue ever since,” Franceska said. “This was an amazing opportunity for me to finally experience a taste of what I could be doing when I finish college and pursue my political dreams. I'm really looking forward to being an advocate for the youth of this county.”