As you may know, the BBA has provided the Mayor’s Youth Council (MYC) with lawyer-mentors since its inception in 1994. To get a better sense of their experience, we sat down with Ronaldo Rauseo-Ricupero, who represented his community of East Boston on the MYC from 1997-2000. Rauseo-Ricupero is a Government Investigations associate at Nixon Peabody and a member of the BBA’s Litigation Section Steering Committee.
Why is it important to give youth a voice in the city?
“Youth are the greatest stakeholder in the city because they are some of the largest consumers of city programs. They attend the public schools, utilize community centers, and access city services. However, they do not have the ability to vote and voice their opinion. The MYC draws on youth and engages them in dialogue with top officials about the issues that affect them.”
How did MYC influence your future education and/or professional decisions?
“Mayor Menino was a great leader and inspiration. He showed me what a government can do if it’s genuinely dedicated and brings all voices to the table to make actual change. MYC is the reason I have stayed involved in civic affairs. I learned how to do creative work when working together.”
Why are attorneys uniquely qualified to serve as mentors for the Mayor’s Youth Council?
“A lot of the work the MYC does is public speaking and advocacy… Youth have wishes, dreams, and hopes but they need help channeling them into something constructive that acknowledges the other competing issues at hand… The main role of the mentor is to help high schoolers, who know their view but have trouble with other person’s views, understand the other perspective. Attorneys are trained in negotiation skills and understanding other perspectives.”
Rauseo-Ricupero remains committed to civic engagement and his city, which he attributes in large part to what he learned from Mayor Menino and the MYC. He currently is a member of the Board of the John William Ward Public Service Fellowship, serves on the City of Boston Scholarship Committee, and assists with programming for the MYC.
For more information on how to get involved with the Mayor’s Youth Council, please contact Katie D’Angelo, Public Service Programs Coordinator, at email@example.com.