Swampscott High freshman Madison Van Dam, at 14, is one of the youngest members on the Massachusetts Youth Council, whose job it is to create positive change in their communities.
She'll be a busy 14-year-old adding the two-year Council commitment to an already full schedule.
Madison, a high honors student who is taking honors classes in her first year at Swampscott High, volunteers at Girls Inc. in Lynn.
There the daughter of Faythe and David Van Dam mentors students and helps them with science and math lessons.
She has also volunteered for veterans related projects and ran cross country.
Applying for the Council was a job in and of itself.
Madison applied back in June and spent weeks answering questions, securing recommendations and writing out her thoughts.
She was surprised and excited when the Governor's office called the Van Dam household three weeks ago with the news that she had been accepted, said her father.
"I'm proud of her," said her dad, David Van Dam a Swampscott selectman. "At fourteen she is willing to give up her Saturdays and donate time for the council."
The first Council meeting is in January. The appointment is for two years. She is one of 28 alternate members on the panel.
Members of the Council were selected by an application review committee for their excellence in leadership and their outstanding potential to create change in their communities, according to the Governor's press office. Members range from ages 14-20.
"The progress Youth Council members have made over the past several years is remarkable, and I am confident that this amazing group of young people will carry on that tradition and leave the Commonwealth stronger for the next generation,” said Governor Patrick.
The Youth Council will hold formal bi-monthly sessions and will advise the Governor as representatives of Massachusetts youth. In addition to their bi-monthly meetings, Youth Council members gather independently to share what they see in their communities and talk about how state government can partner with local communities to create solutions. The first two classes of the Youth Council worked with the Administration to advocate for the passage of several important policy issues, including the Governor’s 2010 anti-bullying legislation.
If you are interested in speaking with a member of the Governor’s Youth Council, please contact the Governor’s press office at 617-725-4025.
The Governor also welcomed 28 alternate members.