Eleven new members were inducted into Community Board [CB] 11 by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at Borough Hall last week — including two civic-minded, local high school students.
Sofia Annunziata, a student at Edward R. Murrow High School who volunteers at Sean Casey Animal Rescue and Pet Haven Animal Hospital, and Karina Cardozo, a 12th Grader at Sunset Park High School who has interned at Councilman Carlos Menchaca’s office, have become the community board’s first-ever youth members.
“Getting young people involved and active in our communities is a positive step,” said CB 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia. “Of course we are aware that some are starting college and their plates will be full, but of course we’ll engage and hopefully they will gain an understanding on how things happen in their community.”
Over summer break the teens, along with the other new CB 11 members, will fill out questionnaires to decide which committees they are interested in joining, according to Elias Pavia.
“There is a very different perspective from a young person who uses the parks, for example, and I think it will be part of a good discussion,” she said.
For both young ladies, it is not their first time showing an interest in civic life. Annunziata, in addition to volunteering at local shelters, has become a leader in animal advocacy with the launch her group, NYC Teens for Animals. In 2012, Annunziata’s group raised $1200 to save two Pomeranians that were being auctioned off by a puppy mill. Her Facebook group, where she documents the progress of animals she helps care for, has garnered more than 8,000 followers.
Cardozo, who is part of her school’s knitting and crocheting club, displayed her civic mindedness while working alongside Menchaca, and through her work as a teacher’s assistant at Sunset Park High School. She also helps out with community cleanup projects.
Among the other new CB 11 inductees are Robert Whittaker of Gravesend, a bus operator and Eagle Scout, and Andrew Windsor, the son Community Education Council [CEC] 20 President Laurie Windsor and a senior at New Utrecht High School. Since Andrew is 18, he is not counted among the youth members.
The teenage appointees are part of the beep’s efforts to advance youth involvement in the borough’s civic matters. Adams also appointed 16- and 17-year-olds to CBs 2, 3, 6, 9, and 16.
Adams spoke at last week’s event about the importance of civic participation.
“Community boards are important institutions that promote healthy civic engagement,” said Adams. “This year’s class of new appointees reflects the diverse set of backgrounds from across our borough, and for the first time includes the critical presence of our young people, something I have been dedicated to advancing in our public sphere. I thank all those who applied for community board membership this year, and I look forward to partnering with members old and new alike in the upcoming term.”
New York City’s 18 community boards, which have existed for 40 years, are the most local representative bodies of government in the city. They deal with land use issues, assessing neighborhood needs, and addressing community concerns.