ROCHESTER N.Y. (WROC) — In an effort to emphasize the critical opportunity that this year’s state budget negotiations represent for the state’s children and families, community members are traveling to the New York state capitol to elevate local concerns in childcare and public schools for upcoming budget.

James Kegler Program Coordinator of a local program called teen empowerment was in attendance shares that their program focuses on fixing issues within the youth.

“We open up a safe space for dialogue for the youth to talk about the issue that they face in real time that’s impacting them the most. So this might look like mental health, gun violence, education, and home life in order to get to the bottom of these issues,” said Kegler.

And as getting to the bottom of the youth’s issues within the community is the focus, he said that’s exactly what some are planning to discuss upon arrival.

“We are going to be on our way to the capitol to lobby for solutions not suspensions and to recognize that we’ve won the foundation aid and the government needs to be able to do what they need to do with the money,” he said.

He says issues addressed by the youth are that much more powerful due most young adults and teens being kept out of the loop when it comes to making big decisions

Emily Ramos, a freshmen attending school of the arts, says her main focus is to discuss issues within the schools.

“I’m to be talking about bullying and what goes on behind the scenes of school grounds when teachers are not around. I don’t want to say what I’m going to say but something along the lines of the solutions and the cause and effects of what’s going on,” says Ramos

James Kegler shares that he is excited that Governor Kathy Hochul has expressed an interest in the proper education and care for the youth in the community and believes that she is a person of her word.