Youth and Family Affairs Committee

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The City of Lawton Youth and Family Affairs Committee hosted its kickoff meeting at 8 a.m. March 22 via Zoom.

The committee was adopted and approved by the Lawton City Council on Feb. 23. The purpose of the committee is to address issues relating to the youth in the Lawton community, with the goal of helping “at-risk” youth, to include identifying opportunities for these individuals to develop life and career enhancing skills and thereby helping them to avoid involvement in the criminal justice system.

Ward 7 Councilperson Onreka Johnson will be the Council Chairperson of the Youth and Family Affairs Committee.

When the Youth and Family Affairs Committee was unanimously passed, I was very excited and ready to get started,” Johnson said. “This administration and the members of the committee recognize the importance of the committee and how it will positively impact the children and youth in our community. My hope for the committee is to build a structure of support, provide building blocks of equity and increase youth resilience for our at-risk youth population and their families for many years to come.”

The Youth and Family Affairs Committee is comprised of nine members, including Johnson, members will serve either one- to three-year terms. Members include Jeff Elbert, Dr. Robert Gorrell, Rick Lowe, Brenda Myers, Dianne Owens, Associate District Judge Lisa Shaw, Ernie Sherman and Dr. Willie Smith. Dr. Sylvia Burgess will serve as the Assistant to the committee, a non-committee member.

I am very excited to be a part of the new Youth and Family Affairs Committee for Lawton,” Burgess said. “The charge of this committee is to identify opportunities for at-risk youth in the community that will help them develop life and career enhancing skills, with the goal of helping them avoid involvement in the criminal justice system. Under the leadership of City Councilwoman Onreka Johnson, we look forward to partnering with Cameron University, Lawton Public Schools, Great Plains Technology Center, the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way of Southwest Oklahoma, as well as with the community-wide JET Force group, as we identify programs and opportunities that work towards meeting this goal.”

Lawton Mayor Stan Booker said he’s looking forward to the good work this committee will accomplish.

“I am excited about getting the Youth and Family Affairs Committee off the ground,” Booker said. “By helping children succeed, we will not only impact the lives of children, but we can change the trajectory of our community. This committee will measure the results of the programs that it recommends to the Lawton City Council in areas such as school attendance, grades and graduation rates – all areas that will work towards changing the culture in our community and will increase our children’s opportunities for success.”

To access the Youth and Family Affairs Committee meeting agenda, visit: lawtonok.gov/public-meetings. For general and additional information, visit lawtonok.gov/youth-and-family-affairs-committee.

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