Mayor starts youth council
Students applied to be on the council.
“At the band banquet last year, the mayor came in to talk to us. He was talking about the Mayor Youth Council and how he was interested in seeing some hard-working band students be a part of it,” junior Miriam Martinez, vice president, said. “I thought that that was something I could be into, because I like helping the community. When they announced it at school, I tried out. We filled out a packet with basic questions, got recommendations from staff members at school and then wrote a page about what leadership means to you.”
Students on the council have a common goal: to help the community.
“I think it’s going really well,” junior Alyssa Stilley said. “I know most of the people on it, although there’s a few people I don’t know. I think it’s really interesting, because all of us are kids that want to help and want to do good to help Greenwood. We are proud to be students that go to Greenwood High School, so it’s going to be cool how we are all going to work together.”
The council gives students the opportunity to represent GHS.
“The purpose of the program is really to have the youth reaching out to the mayor and helping make decisions in the city; it just helps represent the youth in the mayor’s eyes,” freshman Carter Reynolds, Chair of Programs, said.
Giving students a voice and getting students’ perspectives on community issues was a reason to start the council.
“The purpose of the council is to have a group in the school that wants to be connected to the mayor and help the community in different ways,” Stilley said. “The mayor gets teenage insight on different problems in the community, and it’s a way for us to help and do service in Greenwood.”
Junior Laila Stein said that being a part of this council will help her future.
“I wanted to be a part of it because I want to work for the Department of Homeland Security when I grow up, which is a lot of politics and things like that,” Stein said. “So, I thought I could get a start at understanding what politics are, and that if I could be a part of it now, I could be better later.”
At the first couple of meetings, the council elected student representatives to lead the group.
“I knew at first that I wanted to run for something; I didn’t know what though,” Martinez said. “I didn’t want to go for President, because that’s a big deal, but with VP you help out. With Secretary and Treasurer I didn’t know if I could handle money or handle writing, and Vice President helps everyone else, you don’t just do one thing, so I wanted to run for that.”
Communication is vital within the council to ensure that members are of upcoming plans.
“I have held positions through scouting that allow me to understand how important communication is and how to make it function,” senior Noah Roleson, Chair of Communications, said. “My role as Chair of Communications is to make sure that everyone is aware of what is going on. I plan to communicate with the group so that everyone gets a message about current events. I will need to publicize different events and talk to the group about ways to get it out to the public.”
Secretary, President, Chair of Programs and Treasurer were also appointed.
“I decided to run for Treasurer, because I didn’t want to be Vice President or President; I knew that was a lot of responsibility, and I didn’t know if I was quite into that yet or not,” Stein said. “A Treasurer gets to deal a lot with money and budgets and things, and I like working a lot with money and numbers. I like problem-solving.”
The council has plans to serve the community through starting different programs.
“We’ve talked about a few problems, like traffic and obesity and the drug problem going around Greenwood,” Stilley said. “So, we are thinking of different ways we can benefit the community.”
Currently, the council is working on a program to keep Greenwood healthy and fit.
“Mayor Mark Meyers wants Greenwood to be a Certified Fit City,” Stein said. “So, we are looking at doing different programs through Community Health and St. Francis, as a way to achieve that. We want to get kids active and moving, and get their parents active and moving and make it a fun thing to do rather than just eating healthy, which I know is really difficult to do.”
The council plans to continue this program in the upcoming years, giving students a voice and role in the community.
“So far it’s about helping the community improve, improving our leadership skills, and going out and learning how the community works,” Martinez said. “It just kind of gives you that feeling that yes, we are young, but our voices matter.”