MILLEDGEVILLE — Student representatives of the Mayor’s Commission on Youth Leadership presented City Council with updates to the program’s visionary project and its beneficial aspects.
“So far it has been a pleasure working with Mayor Richard Bentley and [Mayor’s Commission on Youth Leadership Special Projects Leader Isaac Cleveland] and learning about their view on leadership,” said Kentrez Worthen, a Georgia Military College Prep School senior, during Tuesday’s council meeting. “We have learned how to advocate issues that affect our peers, local government and the community. We also have learned how to make efficient and timely decisions and how to work together with others and organizing task.”
This year’s commission students are in grades nine through 12, including Chelyse Abrams, Jalessia Clark, Shanbriel Collins, Eula Hurst, Qadur Jones, Maya Mapp, Jazilyn Robinson, DeJanaye Scott, Marquantis Stewart, Joy Trawick, Keianna Waller and Jamarcus Jarrett.
“The goal of the Mayor’s Commission on Youth Leadership is to incorporate civic agency goals so that we develop civic knowledge of the county and community; to learn and apply the civic skills of organizing, communicating and working with others; and value our effectiveness to understand our own capacity to be change agents among our peers and throughout the community,” Worthen said.
Students decided to undertake the issue of teen violence and abuse for their visionary project, titled Airwaves Advocacy Against Teen Violence and Abuse, to advocate an important issue in the community. Seven teams of two are creating their own commercials to address one of seven subcategories, including bullying, cyber bullying, sexual abuse, relationship with parents and peer relationships.
“Students will make five to seven public service announcements on radio stations, at city council meetings, do a YouTube video and public service announcements in various high schools in the area and at their respective schools to advocate against teen violence and abuse between April and May,” Cleveland said. “We’re working with Walter Reynolds, who is with the local radio station and is one of the program mentors, as well as Georgia College & State University’s communications department to generate a video.”
Program students were recommended by individuals from GMC Prep School, Georgia College Early College, YES (Youth Enrichment Services) Program, High Achievers Program, Dads of Great Students (DOGS) and 100 Black Men of Milledgeville Oconee Area Chapter.
“This program aims to help youth develop voice and advocacy skills,” Jarrett said. “All of the participating students were chosen by their adult leaders and recognized as young people who have the potential to make a difference in the community.”
The Mayor’s Commission, having returned from a field trip to meet state-level governmental officials at the state capital Tuesday afternoon, is planning to travel to Georgia Power headquarters in spring to receive a presentation on economic development.
“They are at work and trying to expand their minds to make Milledgeville a better place, particularly for youth. We’re proud of what they’re doing; they are very bright and energetic,” said Bentley, who also traveled to Atlanta with students. “We learn as much from them as they learn from what we teach them.”
The Mayor's Commission will continue to meet weekly at Baldwin High School to complete their visionary project and meet monthly to hear and discuss various issues with the mayor and other local leaders until the program concludes in May.
In other news, the board:
• heard from Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce CEO April Bragg on how the Chamber has grown over the last 18 months and discuss how to strengthen the relationship with the city during the work session;
• heard from Public Works Director Frank Baugh regarding the restoration of Sexton Cottage at Memory Hill Cemetery through volunteer efforts by Friends of Baldwin County Cemetery;
• approved to withdraw an application without prejudice regarding the rezoning of residence 604 S. Jefferson St. into a community commercial zone; and
• heard from Meredith Lipson of Mauldin and Jenkins regarding the city’s annual audit report.
The Milledgeville City Council will next convene at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 26 in Council Chambers at City Hall.
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