“But to what extent will this project benefit the whole community?” Jonathan asked.
“But son, it’s a golf course on a roof! What could be cooler than that?” said another young delegate.
“Who’s gonna go play golf on a roof? We need to get more computers in our struggling schools!” yelled a third.
This debate was just one example of the lively discussions among budget delegates during a recent late-night meeting in East Harlem, as they weighed their community’s project ideas against the criteria of community need and feasibility.
In year two of participatory budgeting in District 8, more than 25 young people are participating as budget delegates in our youth and education committees. In our last youth committee meeting, two delegates from the Boys and Girl Harbor after-school program presented their project proposal for major gym and roof repairs for their center. Other delegates asked about how many people, programs and sports teams used the space. The teens passed around photographs showing the holes in the roof and other damage that needed to be fixed.