Students Visit Councilmember O’Farrell

GEAR UP 4 LA students and staff pose for a picture with Councilman Mitch O'Farrell on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall.

On March 25, 2014, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who represents City Council District 13, welcomed 22 GEAR UP 4 LA students to Los Angeles City Hall, where they experienced hands-on civic engagement.

Student mentors and leaders from Belmont High School had the opportunity to speak directly to the Councilmember about his work, and to participate in a City Council meeting.

O’Farrell offered GEAR UP students front row seats in the John Ferraro Council Chamber, where the City Council meeting was held, and introduced the group to the City Councilmembers present.

Students were thrilled to hear both GEAR UP 4 LA and Belmont High School recognized in such a public manner, and rose to their feet in response to this honor.

Following their participation in the City Council meeting, students toured City Hall, which included a visit to the observation deck. From the observation deck, students marveled at the spectacular views of downtown and greater Los Angeles.

Other highlights of the visit included a tour of the Mayor’s Offices and the Edward R. Roybal Public Works Session Room.

While the visit with Councilmember O’Farrell certainly awakened students to the possibilities that a future in civic engagement and public service hold, GEAR UP 4 LA students took away multiple lessons from their visit.

Belmont High student Ashley Lopez Velasco was especially moved by the following quote that she saw while touring City Hall: “The Masters of Education Hold in Their Hands the Future of the World.”

Said Lopez Velasco, what remained from the whole of the visit, highlighted by that quote, “is my impression that [young people] have the power to positively impact the future.”

Read more in our upcoming newsletters about how GEAR UP 4 LA partnerships increase student opportunities for civic engagement and public service.