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Members of the South Boston Boys & Girls Club learn about elections first-hand

Posted by Patrick Rosso  November 5, 2012 01:33 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

Kanyiah Ganga, 10, a candidate for Club Council, working on her speech before she addresses club members.

As millions of Americans head to the polls Tuesday, members of the South Boston Boys & Girls Club will hold an election of their own.

Youths will be voting to elect their next club mayor and club council, which will help guide and inform staff during the next two years.

“What we try to do is mimic the election process,” said Anne Gordon, the club’s art director and election overseer. “It’s important for the kids to think about how they can control their own lives in positive ways, and it helps them understand how government works.”

Club members will cast their ballots Tuesday, choosing from eight of the 12 candidates to represent them in the “little city hall.”

The club is made up of members ages 9 to 12. It also serves teenagers.

“I’m nice, and I like helping kids,” said Rachenza Prosper, 9, who is running for a seat on the council. “I think we can make it a better place where everyone enjoys themselves.”

Along with the coveted title, students will also help shape the club’s activities and act as a voice for the younger members, encouraging more dances and even pushing for changes in the vending machine offerings.

“If I was a club councilor I would make the club more fun for everyone,” Judy Ma, 12, a candidate for mayor told the audience of 100 members Friday night. “I would have more field trips.”

Speaking to the crowd of voters, each candidate touched on what made them unique and what they would do to represent their constituents.

“I want to run for mayor because I want to help the club be a safe and fun place,” Kyle Murphy, 11, a candidate for mayor told the crowd. “I will make the club way more fun that it is.”

With the month-long process coming to a close, members will have their chance Tuesday to vote for whom they think can best represent them.

“I really liked doing it,” said outgoing Mayor Patrick Lynch, 13. “We [members] actually experience the club so we know what needs help and we can make an impact.”

Although many candidates nervously jotted down their speeches Friday, crossing their fingers that their peers would choose them, Lynch had a little advice for whoever succeeds him in January.

“You have to have an open mind,” said Lynch. “If anyone has an idea, no matter how silly, you have to bring it up to the group.”

This year's candidates are:

Lulu Cruz, 10.
Judy Ma, 12.
Sarah Mogan, 10.
Amanda Talbot, 10.
Kanyiah Ganga, 10.
Indiana Cuevas, 9.
Kyle Murphy, 11.
Robert Hilliard, 12.
Rachenza Prosper, 10.
Julie Ann Perez, 11.

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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