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New youth representative ready for role

First female youth city councillor says she’s thrilled to be voice of peers

NEW FACE: Sabrina Bruno says she's honoured to be Vaughan's new youth councillor. (Philip Alves/Vaughan Today)

Barely two weeks on the job, Vaughan’s new Youth City Councillor is already busy representing her constituency while she breaks new ground.

Sabrina Bruno was sworn in Sept. 8, the fourth high schooler — and the first female — to take the post as the voice of Vaughan’s youth.

Being a pioneer is something the 16-year-old has accepted with poise and a sense of pride.

“I know we have two councillors and our mayor is a female, but that’s a rare circumstance,” Bruno said recently. “It feels good to show that females do have an interest in politics and can actually represent the youth of Vaughan.”

Even before taking her seat in council chambers for the first time, she was at work on a project aimed at putting youth issues onto the desks of the city’s decision-makers.

“(What) I want to do is try get the voice of the youth heard through me,” Bruno said. “I’ll present it to the Youth Cabinet and also to council.

“In my proposal I’m also trying to develop a way that the youth could better explain their concerns to the council, and suggest ideas to the cabinet using different methods.”

Bruno has long been active in her high school, Father Bressani CHS, serving as athletic council vice-president, sitting on the literacy and Increase the Peace councils, and playing on a number of sports teams.

She came across the opportunity to join council while reading through her course calendar, she said.

And, one of her close friends happens to be Mark Frisoli, Vaughan’s first youth city councillor.

“He told me a lot about it and he helped me get started,” Bruno said. “He brought me to Youth Cabinet meetings and then from there I met with (Regional Councillor) Mario Ferri, who gave me applications, and then I applied.”

As the youth councillor, Bruno will earn credit toward her high school diploma. Her term in office coincides with Bressani’s first semester, ending in February.

When Vaughan created the youth city councillor position in 2005, it was the first Canadian municipality to do so.

“It’s just all a learning experience for me,” she said. “This is all new to me as it would be with anyone.

“I just want to continue in the footsteps of the three previous youth councillors and hope for the best.”

A version of this article appears in print Sept. 26, 2008 on page 5.

Vaughan Today
In print: September 26, 2008, page 5
Online: September 29, 2008 [link]