In order to participate in the VYC, students must be enrolled in a public or private middle school located within the Valdosta city limits and must have a minimum 2.5 grade point average. Educators in these schools will nominate students for the 2016-2017 VYC program year. Once selected, the youth must commit to attend the scheduled monthly meetings and complete a minimum of eight community service hours.
“We want to engage these students in their local government before they reach high school and give them opportunities to grow as leaders in our community,” said Mayor Gayle. “This youth-run council, guided by an Advisory Board of local educators and city staff, have made significant accomplishments in their first year, and I’m confident they will continue to have a true impact in our community.”
The members of the VYC’s inaugural year—10 of which will continue on the council for the 2016-17 school year—certainly did make an impact, embracing their mission and achieving a variety of accomplishments, including the following:
- Established an anti-bullying campaign, partnering with a local author and the Valdosta Police Department for an anti-bullying event for October 2016 (National Anti-Bullying Month).
- Oversaw the 2016 “If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest.
- Collectively completed more than 112 community service hours.
- Established a VYC Facebook page for local youth to follow the work of the VYC, to be informed on youth issues, and to discover ways to be engaged in their local government.
- Adopted a .6 mile portion of N. Lee Street for monthly cleanups.
- Established their positive youth presence on Metro 17 and in the community.
The application deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 24, and the new VYC members will officially be sworn in at the Sept. 22, 2016 Valdosta City Council meeting.