By La Prensa Staff

Toledo’s mayor introduced a kid version of the executive and legislative branches of city government Feb. 16, 2022, a group of 13 fourth-graders who will learn how to make policy and get a firsthand look at municipal operations over the next year.

The 8- to 10-year-olds from Toledo Public Schools and Washington Local Schools also will learn about community partnerships and make a policy recommendation at the end of their term. The Kid Mayor and Kid Council met the mayor, attended their first Toledo City Council meeting and enjoyed a meal together during their first session.

“These kids, while between 8-10 years old, are individually impacted by very serious issues in our community, not least of which is gun violence,” said Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz in his weekly community newsletter. “Our new Kid Mayor is in the same class as Damia Ezell, a 10-year-old Toledo girl, who was shot and killed while riding in a car with her uncle last week.”

According to the mayor’s office, hundreds of kids from both school districts applied to be members of Kid Council. The top 13 candidates were selected by their schools and then interviewed by a panel of community leaders to choose the Kid Mayor, Evelyn Bush, who attends Glenwood Elementary School. Ms. Bush later led the mayor on a tour of her school, where he read the morning announcements with her help.

“I look forward to seeing what these talented young people can do in our city,” the mayor said in a Facebook post. Mayor Kapsukiewicz also introduced the Kid Mayor and Kid Council via social media, hosting a press conference broadcast on Facebook Live.

Members of the Kid Council include:  Elliott Worthington, Hailey Dixon, and Elizabeth Kushlan, who each attend Beverly Elementary; Tyler Brister of Birmingham Elementary; Alayah Wappner of DeVeaux Elementary; John Russell Taylor of Marshall STEM Academy; Caylee Simmons of Hiawatha Elementary; Aubree Heaton of Jackman Elementary; Tahj Bannister and Broolyn Berrios, who attend McGregor Elementary; Michael Aiken of Meadowvale Elementary; and Peyten Peters of Greenwood Elementary.

The fourth graders will meet quarterly for the rest of the year. They’ll have the opportunity to visit and learn about the water treatment plant, Engage Toledo, Toledo Police, Toledo Fire and Rescue, and community partners such as the Toledo Mud Hens.

Program co-sponsors include the two school districts and the Youth Empowerment and Engagement Committee of the city’s Human Relations Commission.