Since its inception, the Hilliard Youth and Family Commission (HYFC) has had little funding and even less public recognition.

Since its inception, the Hilliard Youth and Family Commission (HYFC) has had little funding and even less public recognition.

That could all change if city council decides to reactivate the group as a city commission in 2009.

Officially formed by city council in 2001, the Youth and Family Commission technically ceased to exist as a city commission on Dec. 31, 2007.

Current Council President Brett Sciotto, who authored the legislation creating the HYFC, said the group's original goals were simple.

"At the time, we envisioned an organization that would work in the community to build what we referred to affectionately as assets," Sciotto said. "They essentially would build values and skill sets and different kinds of knowledge into the community for the purpose of building better children, to make sure they have the right kind of environment as they grow up and to make sure Hilliard is a community that is family-friendly."

Sciotto, said his original legislation creating the HYFC included a sunset clause that would prevent council-created committees from existing in perpetuity.

While the HYFC has officially expired as an active city committee, the commission has been kept alive by the Hilliard Family YMCA.

The group is yet to earn non-profit status but has survived with minimal outside financial support.

"We did fund some of these operations early on but it has been a while since the city has put any money toward this," Sciotto said.

Today the HYFC has developed a strategic plan and prepared an operating budget, which it presented to members of City Council's Recreation and Community Involvement Committee.

HYFC board member Jill Smock said her group has emphasized involving youth in the community to help them become better citizens.

"We have a youth council that has representatives of all the schools from the sixth- through the 12th-grades," she said. "They have been probably one of the most active pieces of the commission. In the beginning it was really an adult-driven commission."

Smock said the HYFC's major projects have been the "Parents Who Host Lose the Most" campaign against hosting teen alcohol parties during special events such as high school graduation, and the HYFC's participation in National Family Week activities in September which promotes families eating dinner together to improve communication among family members.

"We've looked for little grants here and there but basically, we're about at the end," Smock said.

Smock said the HYFC has about $2,000 but estimates an additional $16,000 would be needed to fund proposed programming for 2009.

"This was our child way back when and we kind of spun them into the world and they need some support again," Sciotto said. "I really think that this is probably the right move for city council to consider in January, an ordinance that reinvigorates them as a commission of the city and then consider their strategic plan and budget for some level of funding out of council's community programs budget. That allows them to take the next step with their programs."

Council vice president William Uttley agreed. "At first blush, this is the type of program that I envision our community projects going for," Uttley said. "There are a lot of benefits to our community in general. I fully support considering this."

"They've done a lot of good things and I don't think they have gotten the backing they deserve," Sciotto said.