A youth movement
By Lisa DeNeal Post-Tribune correspondent October 17, 2013 11:58AM
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Youth Services Bureau director Ken Patrick Barry pose for a photo with some members of the Gary Youth Leadership Council during a recent open house. | Photo provided
For more information about the City of Gary Youth Services Bureau contact director Ken Patrick Barry, 881-5270 or email at email@example.com. You can also visit the office at 839 Broadway or visit the website at www.garyysb.com.
Updated: October 17, 2013 11:58AM
The sound of preteens and teens bounced off the brick walls as members of the Gary Youth Leadership Council hosted the Gary Youth Services Bureau’s open house at 839 Broadway.
Superhero colors of red, yellow and blue were visible on the walls and official T-shirts with emblazoned with a “G” and worn by the youth and director Ken Patrick Barry.
The “G” is surrounded by three words, Empowered, Equipped and Engaged, all visibly practiced under Barry since becoming a part of GYSB last summer.
“I am excited! Are you excited?” he yelled from the stage inside the office’s community room.
The crowd cheered as a TV screen on the wall behind Barry showed the GYSB website go live for the open house.
Barry said getting the new offices prepared has been a difficult but fulfilling process. He points to the mural created by the Gary Youth Leadership Council members that is part of the office’s decor.
An administrative office on the second floor has been taken over by the council’s young board members, who set up meetings and ideas.
“There are times when I have to make the kids go home because they are working so hard,” Barry said.
Barry said more than 50 youths are part of the GYLC and it is growing as young people are looking for leadership from their peers. The organization is working with the city of Gary to become visible in the community through programs and activities that build character and motivate others.
“This is every youth program director’s dream,” Barry said.
YLC president Ni’Avia Wilson, 18, said she joined the council and GYSB because she was bored of staying at home all the time.
“I’ve made a lot of friends and Mr. Barry is true to his word about caring for and working with the youth. He walks the walk and talks the talk,” she said.
At the open house, 21-year-old Kayla Williams of Gary catered the event through her catering service, Ivanna’s Elegant Cuisine. She said Barry hired her.
“This was a great opportunity for me as my company is new. Everybody enjoyed the food and I am so happy about it,” she said.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said she is proud of the GYLC and GYSB.
“When I met with a group of youths a year ago, they made it known that they wanted to make a difference in the city. They’ve proved that they are passionate about getting stuff done,” she said.