Metro’s second Youth Council convenes

Metro’s second Youth Council held its first meeting this past Saturday at Metro headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.

The 27 members met one another and held discussions with Metro staff and our CEO Stephanie Wiggins on topics including the future of transportation, building confidence in our youth riders, and how Metro can better connect young people to places that matter to them.

The Metro Youth Council was one of Stephanie’s initiatives after she began as CEO in 2021. The idea is simple: the Council is a way for Metro to better hear the voices and perspectives of young people — i.e. our current and future riders and stakeholders.

The Youth Council is made up of 27 members between the ages of 14 to 17 years old that represent the nine subregions of Los Angeles County. Each Council member will serve a one-year term and participate in various Metro projects, programs and initiatives. The first Youth Council class met throughout the latter half of the 2021-22 school year.

Metro aims to:

•Listen to their concerns

•Learn from them and receive new ideas and perspectives

•Engage our future community leaders and increase their awareness of Metro

•Empower youth to share their voices in transportation decision making

•And create life-long riders

While talking with Stephanie, Youth Council members on Saturday mentioned: the need for a one-stop Metro app with real-time arrival info, transit planning and the ability to report incidents; improving safety and the ability of riders to reach Metro security/safety staff; better connecting Metro to youth via social media, and; promoting and learning more about public transit’s positive impact on the environment and sustainability.

Here’s a video showcasing some of the work of last year’s Youth Council:

Here are the bios of the 2023 Youth Council Members: 

Xander Inchaustegui lives in Highland Park, is a runway model, enjoys cycling, and wants to advocate for the construction of better-designed density around transit stations across the county.

Amanda Newman lives in Marina Del Rey, is an artist who uses her art to bring awareness to social and political issues that affect her generation. Through the Metro Youth Council, Amanda hopes to encourage her peers to use public transportation by advocating ease of use and safety, and how ride sharing will contribute to a greener planet.

Ashley Nunez lives in Arleta, likes to play tennis, read, and fashion. As part of the Metro Youth Council, she is excited to share her own personal experiences to help improve people’s perspective of transportation.

Bryan Valiente lives Long Beach. Bryan is open to reading any type of book, likes fantasy books & classics such as “Catcher in the Rye” and “1984.” “My hope is that I can give most if not the majority of the youth in the greater Los Angeles area a chance to share their thoughts on the current state of the metro and how it could be improved,” he said.

Caden Choi lives in Torrance, has a passion for learning, plays video games, and wants to champion for a greener and more accessible transportation system.

Camille Parks lives in Inglewood. She enjoys aviation, rocketry, and aerospace engineering. Camille wants to support her community by making public transportation more environmentally friendly and safe for women and youth.

Diego Gonzalez lives in Central Los Angeles. He enjoys the arts and everything Metro. He wants to contribute to his community by advocating for safety and improvements to public transportation.

Ellie Mejia lives in Pico Rivera, serves as the city’s student ex-officio parks and recreation commissioner, and enjoys hiking and reading dystopian literature. She wants to contribute to her community by promoting greater access to public transportation and raising awareness of its advantages.

Emery Cunningham lives in Santa Monica and enjoys deep philosophical debate. He wants to help our communities prepare for the future by providing Metro with a lens focused on climate change and mental health.

Emilio Carrillo lives in the community of Florence-Graham in South LA. He is a part of the theatre program at his school and enjoys learning history and making art. Emilio hopes to contribute to his community by advocating for an expansion of public transport to create more equitable communities.

Gracie O’Malley lives in Echo Park. She is very interested in STEM and enjoys creative writing. She hopes to help make safer and more accessible public transportation, particularly for youth.

Hailey Chen lives in Altadena and takes Metro daily to and from her school. She enjoys drawing and reading and is excited to contribute to her community by improving upon the overall experiences of commuters on the Metro.

Hassan Elreda lives in Bell, is part of the America on Tech Teen Leaders Council, where he enjoys learning about new innovations in technology. He hopes to bring the Youth of LA together to advocate the importance of free access for transportation.

Jacob Wallis lives in Hawthorne and is actively involved in several robotics and engineering programs. He loves to play soccer and is looking forward to brainstorming new and innovative technological solutions for L.A’s public transit system!

Katrina Resultay lives in Artesia and serves as the club president of her school’s Southeast Asian Student Association and a member of the yearbook staff. She spends her free time training in various sports such as dragon boat paddling, boxing, and long-distance running. Katrina believes that efficient public transportation is the key to shaping a better future in modern society and wishes to advocate for the improvement of public transportation in the SoCal community.

Kevin Chan lives in South El Monte and is part of his school’s boys tennis team. As part of Metro’s Youth Council, he aims to address ways to make public transportation a more feasible option for everyone to get around. Whether you are commuting to work, heading to school, or going out to eat and shop, Kevin says let Metro help get you there!

Lakshmi Jimenez lives near Hollywood and enjoys listening and playing music. She likes to exercise, volunteer, and read. She always has been passionate about making a change in her community and hopes to engage and collaborate with her peers to help make the community a better place.

Mahati Dharanipathi lives in Santa Clarita, is part of her school’s lacrosse team, enjoys skating and art, and wants to advocate for the youth through public transportation.

Mani Sefas-Loos lives in South LA and enjoys competing in Mock Trial, doing political organizing, reading, and spending time with her family. She is excited to learn what goes into creating public transportation and how it can be an asset in Angelenos’: lives.

My’Endia Berryman lives in Palmdale and is a part of her high school’s cheerleading and track and field team. She enjoys reading poetry and would like to contribute to her community by advocating for people in need of public transportation.

Neha Ramesh lives in Burbank and is part of her school’s Mock Trial team. Neha enjoys spending time with her friends and family and is passionate about enhancing the environmental state of her community.

Olivia Smith lives in Los Angeles and has been playing soccer for over 11 years. As a member of the Metro Youth Council, she wants to take action to increase the safety, cleanliness, and ridership for all those who use public transportation.

Santiago Salazar lives in Covina, is a part of his school’s soccer and swim team. He enjoys traveling and wants to contribute to his community by bringing more sustainability to construction and helping people manage their personal finances.

Siyeong Kim lives in North Hollywood and loves to draw. In her free time, she conducts research on Korean traditional clothes. She would like to improve the way public transportation is perceived in Los Angeles.

Thomas Catalan lives in West LA, enjoys math and reading, likes to laugh, and wants to improve his community by increasing access to public transportation.

Tomer Fine lives in Calabasas, loves playing tennis and traveling. He is excited to help his community.

Zoey Schwartz lives in Reseda and is part of her school’s debate team. She enjoys running and hiking and would like to learn about transportation within sustainable urban planning to help improve her community.

3 replies

  1. These young students are smarter than many Metro executives! They actually care about providing mobility to those who cannot drive, and respect transit as a viable mobility option. In contrast to most of Metro’s “senior transit leaders”, including Metro’s “Chief” Planning Officer, his “deputy”/best friend, and the executives they hired to be in charge of Metro’s transit projects, who all avoid transit at all costs and only pay it lip service because they’re getting paid $250k a year or more to pretend they care. While they drive to Metro Headquarters every day in their latest luxury sports car or SUV, paid for by the taxpayers of LA County who have entrusted these people to improve LA transit! If you want to see the latest luxury sedans and SUVs, just come to Metro’s parking garage on any given day.
    Why would we expect these executives that actively avoid transit to plan our transit future, when they spend their entire lives avoiding transit in the first place?!

  2. Very few people at Metro, especially among the highest paid executive staff and those in charge of Metro transit, share these students’ viewpoints and visions. Nice to see The Source give lip service to them, but you’re not fooling anyone with these aspirational quotes and visions that executive Metro staff do not share, let alone advocate for. How could they, when they only enter or exit Metro via a luxury car or SUV? Why would Metro leaders care about better public transit or reducing the impacts of climate change when they themselves rely on private vehicles and driving for their own mobility needs and desires? Why should we expect transit leaders that never ride transit and scoff at the suggestion they should, to be true advocates for transit?

  3. Any one of these students would be better to lead LAs mobility future than any current Metro executive who lives their entire lives from a car and car windshield perspective. These students would be significant improvements over the Metro “transit leaders” that never step foot on a bus or train. Or the highway leaders at Metro who seem to think the solution to congestion is to just widen highways in a never ending battle against climate change, in an effort to increase driving and congestion as much as possible, a never ending cycle of driving expansion insanity that has brought LA to where it is today.