Palo Alto youth to outline priorities Saturday | February 26, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 26, 2010

Palo Alto youth to outline priorities Saturday

More late-night gathering spots, better lunch deals top list

by Chris Kenrick

What do Palo Alto's teens want?

Outdoor movie screenings in parks, better student-lunch deals and more teen-friendly late-night venues — for starters.

As Palo Alto's high school students prepare to explain themselves to the city's adult leaders this Saturday, teens were culling a list of suggestions generated by more than 100 students who attended a Feb. 6 session to identify youth concerns.

Youth representatives will present the concerns to community leaders, including local business owners and elected officials, this Saturday at Mitchell Park Community Center.

Saturday's 2 p.m. meeting, featuring food and raffle prizes, is sponsored by the City of Palo Alto, the nonprofit Youth Community Service organization, the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, the Palo Alto Family YMCA and the Palo Alto Unified School District.

Palo Alto High School seniors Daniel Jones and Charlie Lin were among several dozen students planning Saturday's session at a meeting of the Palo Alto Youth Council Monday.

"We're hoping to promote an honest, open dialogue between teens and relevant adults in the community that can effect the change we want to see," Lin said.

"Hopefully it's just going to be a good, honest conversation about how we can make Palo Alto a more teen-friendly place."

Jones and Lin displayed a list of suggestions that had been raised at the Feb. 6 youth session, organized and run by teens.

Many ideas clustered around the need for more gathering spots for teens, particularly late at night.

"People want more 24-hour places," Jones said. "After 9 or 10, the only real choices are drive-through fast food, 7-Eleven or Happy Donuts. One thing people said was they want more things like Happy Donuts that are open 24 hours a day and have things besides doughnuts."

Gunn students in particular said they wished for more food options closer to their campus.

And all students lamented a dearth of low-cost lunch options.

Jones and Lin fondly recalled former Town & Country Village tenants — now gone — Spot Pizza and Rojoz Wraps. Spot offered a $5 pizza deal, they said, and Rojoz had a $3 "Paly quickbite," which, with an added drink, came to less than $5.

"I really miss that," Jones said.

Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be e-mailed at


Posted by PALY Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 24, 2010 at 11:29 am

Kudos to the community organizations for giving these teens a voice. We would do well to listen to them more often (and on more topics). As parents and concerned adults, we too often resort to speaking on our teens' behalf. If we treat our teenagers like the responsible young adults we want them to be, we will likely be pleased with the result.

Posted by What an opportunity!, a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Here's hoping as many - or more - teens come to THIS session as the last one. This one is the opportunity teens have been asking for - to get together with Palo Alto's adult leaders, to express their issues and discuss ideas, together. Could be very cool.

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