NYC teens serving on community boards

Teens joining community boards is a trend that began two years ago and continues to have momentum.

In 2015, Mahfuzur Rahman, then 16, became one of the youngest members to serve on Manhattan's Community Board 11. This opportunity was made possible thanks to a state law that passed a year prior, allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to apply and serve on boards throughout the city. Prior to the passing of the law, members had to be 18 or older.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who has been a longtime supporter of the law, says the opportunity gives our youth a chance to play a powerful role in shaping issues such as zoning, land use issues, liquor licenses and the delivery of city services. Brewer and local city councilmembers are responsible for appointing people to the board.

In the Bronx and Brooklyn, a number of teens serve on boards as well.

 However, not everyone is in favor of the law. In a statement, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb says, "Enabling teenagers to make decisions on land-use applications, zoning changes, budget recommendations or the distribution of liquor licenses when ill-prepared is a recipe for disaster."

Brewer and Rahman disagree.