“The idea here is to grow good people and good leaders,” Plantersville mayor and co-leader of the group Gloria Holland said during a Thursday meeting. “This group is giving them opportunities that they might not necessarily get otherwise.”
The Plantersville Youth Council was created in 2009, and is a subsidiary of the Mississippi Municipal League, an organization started in Hattiesburg in 2008 to give ninth- to 12th-grade students an opportunity to be more active in their communities.
The council’s 18 current members meet once every two weeks at Plantersville Town Hall with Holland and co-leader Renee Morris. The group participates in multiple events throughout the year, including community service, volunteer projects, city council meetings and community service projects. The group also travels to a statewide summit once a year to meet with other cities’ youth councils.
“What I like most about the council is helping people,” Ardarius Sneed said. “I also enjoy going out and having fun with the group, too.”
At the meeting Thursday, Tupelo Bark Park creator Summer Knight visited with the group about a possible community project, a Mardi Gras parade for dogs. The council approved helping to Knight and will walk dogs from the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society in the parade.
“I definitely plan on doing something with the parade,” former group member Jazma Bradley said. “I’m not really a dog person, but I like to help out any way that I can.”
The Plantersville Youth Council has raised around $10,000 to go toward service projects and trips for the group. The council has participated in multiple community service events, including major community recycling projects, holiday trips to nursing homes, the St. Jude Bike-a-Thon, an annual food drive and volunteer work for the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society.
Members of the council are involved with outside activities, Holland said. Many members cannot attend every meeting because of other extra-curricular activities at schools or churches.
“That’s what is so special about this group of kids,” Morris said. “They are always making new friends or meeting neighbors that they didn’t even know they had. We encourage them to participate in other activities and they do.”