In 1989, the City of Hopewell passed a Chapter 38-Youth Services as law, which established the Office on Youth and Youth Services Commission under the Virginia Delinquency Prevention and Youth Development Act of 1979.
The Youth Services law mandated a citywide Office on Youth to implement the strategies to accomplish the goals and objectives as established and authorized by the newly formed Youth Services Commission.
The Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Juvenile Community Crime Control Act (VJCCCA) in 1995, to establish community-based programing to deter during that time the Commonwealth of Virginia funded all VJCCCA Offices on Youth. Due to budget constraints, the state was no longer able to entirely fund all statewide offices and the City’s Office on Youth was closed around 1996.
In 2014, the City Council committed to reinvesting in the city’s youth and supported legislation to reestablish the Office on Youth and reappoint members of the community to serve on the Youth Services Commission. In 2016, the Office on Youth opened its doors nearly 20 years after its closing.
The Office on Youth will be coordinating services for youth birth through age 24. To be effective in this goal, there must be partnerships, first with our youth, but also with their families. Our young people have valuable opinions and perspectives and we work to see and understand things through their eyes. We will embrace opportunities to step outside of traditional student-teacher roles, and allow our youth to lead. In their unique understanding and interactions with the world, we understand our young people may very well be the innovation, creativity, and heart we as a community and the world are seeking.
It’s often been said that, “Youth are the leaders of tomorrow” or, “Today’s youth are our future.” These are both true, but they are also limiting the potential of our young people. They will be powerful in the future, but they ARE also powerful now. We are in the business of taking the limits off of our young people and challenging them to realize their potential right now. They can and will make great contributions today, and well into the future!