Orinda Teen Advisory Council Wants YOU!
empowering women, families, and youth-at-risk through improved literacy, increased positive media, and tools for living.
By Natasha Morsey
The Orinda Teen Advisory Council, also called OTAC, includes students from a large range of ages, from 6th to 12th grade. The purpose of the council is to create community events, plan service projects, and advise the City Council about teen issues.
According to Alex Glaser, Co-Chair of OTAC, and senior at Miramonte High School, the council decides “what teens can do for Orinda and what Orinda can do for teens.” The council has written an official mission statement: “this city-sponsored teen committee provides input to the city council about teens and focuses on the involvement of teens in the community through community service, programs, and fundraising.”
The OTAC hopes that more junior high students will come to the meetings. And so the committee is planning ways to involve the Orinda Intermediate School. OIS hears about the program in two ways. First, the principle of OIS, Michael Randall, advertises the council on his weekly podcast. Second, the council has visited OIS to give a presentation about leadership.
“They are the future of OTAC,” says Haley Cassriel, regarding the role of the OIS students. Cassriel is a senior at Miramonte and co-chair of OTAC. One of the council members in fact was drawn to the council while he was in middle school: “I was in OIS in 8th grade, visited with a friend, and then I came here,” says Devin Stein. He is currently the treasurer for the council and a junior in high school.
How can OIS help the council? They can help plan events. Glaser says that, “many of these events are [made] for OIS students.” OIS students can give advice that older students might not give—for example, younger students do not have drivers’ licenses and therefore need more transportation options.
Past events planned by OTAC include a Harry Potter themed movie night featuring a unique dish served by Loard’s Ice Cream. A future event that OTAC discussed with Lafayette and Moraga councils is a “Battle of the Bands” in April. Funds raised may be used to support local high school sports teams.
Volunteering at OTAC has influenced some students’ career interests. Cassriel says she is interested in public health administration because of OTAC. Glaser is also considering a major in which she can use the skills that she became familiar with at the council.
OTAC invites students from junior high and high school to join their council. Monthly meetings take place on the first Monday of each month at 4:00 p.m at the Orinda Community Center.
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