Thursday, May 27, 2010
Chamber’s Junior Ambassadors honored
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Main Street and Healthy Kids/Healthy Communities to say “thank you” to Junior Ambassadors for their participation in the chamber’s leadership program this school year.
The event included interviews with participating students chosen from juniors and seniors in the Holly Springs High School classes of Felicia Harvell, business and computer technology instructor, and Mary Ann Arouna, marketing instructor.
Judy Smith, interim director of the Holly Springs Main Street Program, joined the group to see how the ambassadors program worked. Main Street will provide leadership training next fall for sophomores.
Students were interviewed regarding their participation in events this year and their future plans by Suzanne Langley, consultant with the chamber. Also participating in the reception was Lynn Pullen, president of the chamber, and board member Lexine Smith.
Pullen thanked students for asking the chamber to participate in the Junior Ambassadors program.
“I hope you continue working with us to have a successful life,” she said.
Langley said the chamber and Main Street hope to “make the program richer next year.”
“What meant the most to you this year?” she asked.
The ambassadors said they enjoyed fund-raising, participating in the Veterans Day parade, and the history of Holly Springs course provided by Amy Heaton, prior chamber director who started the program at the Holly Springs High School.
They also took field trips to Rust College and Peebles.
Students were asked what careers they have been drawn to investigate. They ranged from medical coating, computer software and games design, pediatrics, mass communication, elementary education, financial analyst/advisor, and nursing.
Some students have taken an on-line financial literacy program at school but the Northwest Mississippi Community Foundation offers an on-line literacy program, also, according to Peggy Linton with the foundation. Students graduate from the course as a certified financial literacy scholar.
The foundation also offers “Empower Me For Life,” a program about healthy eating and active living. The course is taught to teens who in turn teach it to children ages 8-12.
Students were invited to volunteer for events at the chamber and Main Street. The chamber plans to choose a student to recognize when it hands out awards such as Business Person of the Year, Pullen said.
“We could add a Junior Ambassador of the Year award,” Pullen suggested. “We’ve had a Veterans Day Parade and the Memorial Wall. There’s always an opportunity to volunteer.”
Langley said the chamber is working to develop a website to include a directory of members and a newsletter.
Students said they prefer to communicate via text messaging.
Smith explained that Main Street is seeking to establish a goal in working with youth and has some activities planned, including “Hidden Treasures,” an event connected with some other activities in July.
Students can volunteer to make calls to businesses.
“Maybe Main Street will help train them as volunteers,” she said. “Maybe we will assign a student to work with a business.”
Arouna said in the fall business students will be put in three-hour block classes and that the Junior Ambassadors can work with the chamber and Main Street during some of these blocks.
Smith asked students what they consider as volunteering.
One student said picking up trash.
“You see city beautification as a need,” Smith said.
Another student answered, “tutoring younger kids.”
Smith said it would be crucial for students to understand their goals and duties as volunteers.
“You all are laying a foundation for next year,” Langley said. “It will be helpful to keep a record of what has helped you.”
Ambassadors were treated to healthy snacks following the evaluation of the ambassadors program by students.
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