Mayor's Youth Council group adds to ranks

TUPELO – For the hundreds of teens roaming Tupelo, the city offers a rallying cry.
“What kids think matters,” said Sherrie Cochran, city environmental planner and an advisor to the Mayor’s Youth Council.
Now entering its fourth year, the council attracts dozens of teens who learn about city government, participate in community service projects and have the unique opportunity to advise municipal leaders.
“It’s more than just a service club,” Cochran said. “You will be the voice of your peers. You will provide valuable insight on issues affecting youth on the community. You can speak to policy makers who are in charge now, because in the future you will be in charge.”
More than 180 Tupelo High School students have signed up to join the council this academic year, but the club is open to anyone in middle or high school, public or private.
The first meeting will be held at 3 p.m., Sept. 5 at City Hall.
Among those expected to show is outgoing council President Morgan Hadley, who joined the group three years ago as a high school sophomore. Hadley now is a freshman at Mississippi State University and will return to the group as a mentor.
“We have an opportunity to talk about the issues from the perspective of the youth’s eyes instead of the adult’s eyes,” Hadley said. “When you take part of doing something for your community, it makes you feel good about yourself.”
Hadley and her peers have participated in numerous neighborhood association events, graffiti cleanups and other projects, said Zell Long, the city’s community development director and another council advisor.
This year, for the first time, the group also will be aligned with the Mississippi Municipal League’s Youth Council program and will have a chance to meet other youth council members statewide.
“Our intent and based on criteria from MML,” Long said, “is that they be a voice to the mayor and council.”
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Join the council
Anyone interested in joining the youth council can call the city at (662) 841-6410.

Emily Le Coz / NEMS Daily Journal