LOUISVILE, Ky.-Being a teen is no small feat in today's world so any attempt to make changes within your community is a daunting task especially when it comes to tackling topics like violence.
"Growing up in the West End I see stuff on a regular basis that guess are norms, considered norms like violence and poverty and stuff and I kind of wanted to change that for my community," said Nigel Blackburn.
And teens like Nigel and his good friend Haley are giving it more than lip service.
Within the last year they have worked to actively to advise Mayor Greg Fischer, gain insight into local government, and change policies that will make a lasting change through The One Love Louisville Youth Implementation team.
"I think we have definitely made progress with involvement and discussion with e-cigs, mental health, as well as we have brought up our concerns with Louisville’s gun safety. I think it is a big issue a lot of us are concerned about," Haley Brents said.
And they have made strides towards decreasing the use of e-cigs among teens in Louisville,the issue has now been taken up with a council of mayors.
"We talked to the mayor about the usage and everything that goes into the usage depression, anxiety, and all the different types of mental illnesses. So we kind of brought that to his attention and we got it kind of addressed," Blackburn said.
And when it comes to different topics the mayor listens to these teens have to say especially given the uptick in violence Louisville has seen in the last couple of weeks.
"We make sure not to go in there just voicing concern we make sure to go in there with here's our solution, here's work we need to do, and here's information we need you to give us," Brents said.
The groups falls under the office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods that back them up 100 percent.
"We cannot do this work without having authentic genuine conversations with young people but more than conversation we need young folks at the table who are making decisions and has the power to decide how our city moves forward in doing comprehensive violence prevention work," Director Rashaad Abdur-Rahman said.
And they are always on the lookout for new members.
"For anyone that would be interested my biggest recommendation is iyou are committed to community, that who I want because this is a lot of work to get prepared to speak to the mayor or any other policy stakeholder anyone in tghe community that can make choices about lives, getting prepared for that is alot of work," Youth Specialist Nubia Bennett said.
But the Haely will tell you it's all worth it in the end.
"You can become frustrated but you use that frustration to continue your work and you use that frustration to move you even further and to make you push even harder. So I don't think it's one of those things I can't do this anymore or my work is not making a diffference. It's one of those things my voice and work are now more important than ever and I have to continue going because if I'm not going to do it who is?" Brents said.
The Youth Implementation Teamrequires a week long on boarding process, meetings twice a month, and 40 plus hours of community service hours.