Thursday, October 30, 2008
Youth council focuses on government, community
By BARRY BURLESON
Holly Springs Mayor Andre’ DeBerry welcomed a new mayor to city hall Thursday.
The first mayor’s youth council in DeBerry’s administration is up and running, thanks to a program coordinated by director Sharon White and the Latter Rain Church. William Payne was named mayor, based on his GPA, to represent the fifth through eighth graders and last week he helped DeBerry pass out membership cards in the youth council.
“This is history,” White said. “I am so excited.”
Project Youth RAC (Reading Activity Camp) is an after-school tutorial and service learning program sponsored by the Latter Rain Church and the Historically Minority Colleges and Universities Consortium of North Carolina.
The students meet every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 3-5 p.m.
Since its conception in April 2007, the vision of Project Youth RAC is to provide students a safehaven to engage in organized, well-supervised programs/services in the area of reading, math and service-learning activities. The goals are to extend and enrich their educational progress and provide foundations of learning skills leading to improved academic achievement and emotional well being.
Service-learning activities provide students with opportunities to apply reading and math from the classroom to the real world by learning civil responsibility. The youth council will address the missing link of communication between city government and the student population by addressing neighborhood problems and understanding how individuals can influence public policy.
The first project, on the advice of Mayor DeBerry, will focus on the litter problem in Holly Springs.
All youth council officers were selected based on their GPA. Joining Mayor Payne in the city administration are alderman-at-large Kayla Hughes and other aldermen Jaliyah Isom, Javius Nabors, Alexis Faulkner and Kalitha Hughes. City clerk is Carrie Graham, deputy clerk Ferrell Barksdale and mayor’s secretary Dana Glover. Rickey Raimey will serve as police officer and Shakayla Johnson is the city zoning administrator.
“Congratulations,” DeBerry said. “Make sure the decisions you make are in the best interests of the people you represent.”
The students involved in the program will learn public speaking for radio and television appearances and town hall meetings with other youth. Students will write a collection of crime prevention articles for the community and report the news on Rust College TV2 through different writing types.
“The students’ grades will improve along with self esteem and community awareness and the Holly Springs community will benefit by seeing a productive student population,” White said.
Thirty-two students are involved in Project Youth RAC. It is open to anybody (grades 5-8).
For more information, contact White at 662-252-5800.
Members of White’s staff include Carolyn Brown, Annie Jones, John Jossell, Clarence Jones, Alberoderick Neely, Rolin Hill and Luvell Jones.
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